I’m writing this as a new staff member of this anointed and historic ministry on a bright, cheery afternoon as I gaze out the picturesque view of my newly acquired office while savoring a steamy cup of Sumatra coffee. Life feels good. God is good. The awe of this tremendous privilege, honor, and responsibility hits me in waves. And when it does, with a tear-stained face, I thank my faithful Father for how He truly uses all things for my good (Romans 8:28) and His glory. This verse and theme keep resurfacing over and over in my personal life and in my ministry to hurting women: a verse that came alive to me about 12 years ago during a particularly lengthy and trying season in my life. Life did not then and does not always feel good in the moment, but God is still good none-the-less! He was, is, and always will be. When we can thank God in and even for the tear-stained valleys of life, the praises we subsequently shout on the mountain tops are that much more poignant.
If you are wondering what types of trials, temptations, and heartaches I have endured to bring me to the point of living by faith that God is using everything, everything, everything for my ultimate good, I would tell you that they are the same ones you have faced, are facing, and will face. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), we all face common temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13), and we all battle the world, the flesh, and supernatural evil. When we as believers not only mentally assent to, but actively believe, appropriate, and live by the truth that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV), we will experience faith, hope, and joy despite earthly circumstances. Knowing that God has the ultimate “check-mate” whatever the world, the flesh, or the devil throws our way fixes our perspective, enhances our testimony, increases our joy, calms our hearts, bolsters our faith, and propels our growth in Christ. Whoo-hoo!
Now take a minute and think about all that is troubling you at this exact moment. Maybe you have a medical problem that threatens to not only ravage your body, but to shatter your faith. Maybe someone you love dearly does. Maybe a loved one has just died and you are overcome with subsequent grief, agonizing loneliness, or paralyzing fear. Maybe you live under the burden of an estranged or severely damaged significant relationship. Maybe you have loved ones who don’t know Christ, and you labor faithfully in prayer about that but see no outward, visible signs of progress. Maybe you are facing financial problems, struggling with besetting sins, experiencing a dry time spiritually, battling regret over past actions, fighting depression or anxiety, dealing with loved ones who are destroying themselves, or are overloaded with many demands and responsibilities. Maybe your current trial isn’t listed here or several of them are.
Whatever the case may be, I would encourage you to bow your head in submission and trust to your good Father Who is allowing all that has come your way and will come your way with a good, eternal purpose in mind. Tell Him by faith that you are trusting Him to use everything for His glory and your ultimate good. Then live moment-by-moment in dependence upon the Holy Spirit and in light of that marvelous and freeing truth!
Melissa Smith is the Women of Character Coordinator at America’s Keswick. She has the privilege and honor of ministering to the Colony men’s wives and girlfriends, the Barbara’s Place women, and some women from the community who God brings to America’s Keswick for help or care. She and Bill, her husband of 18 years, have four adopted children ages 17 to 24. Her fervent desire is to point women to Christ and His sufficiency, provision, and promises.