My week has been really loaded with blessings. I had several conversations during the week that confirmed some of the things that God has been speaking to me about. I also made a decision to begin a special project. I‘ll tell you more about this in the coming weeks.
Today, I want to talk about bad experiences. Nobody loves bad experiences and it’s obvious why. They are just bad! I’m sure you’ve had one or two. I’ve had my fair share. Some made me shed tears; others made me question God. I began to question why God would let such things happen to me. There were some experiences that I went through and I felt that God was just punishing me for my past mistakes because they didn’t make sense to me.
Like I have shared in my previous posts, November 2011 has been the toughest and darkest period of my life so far. I don’t even think I can call that experience bad. It was terrible. It was like someone removed the ground beneath me and left me hanging. I didn’t see a way out. Even today, I am still amazed at how God turned everything around for me. Although it looked like my expectations had been cut short (with my academics and my ministry), God had something greater in mind for me.
Every bad experience you have gone through is for a purpose. It may not make sense now but God is cooking up something real good for you. I had a discussion with one of my pastors yesterday and I told him about my roles in my church in Leeds and my experience afterwards. And then he said, “God has a reason for taking us through everything that we go through. What we learn may not be useful immediately but it will be useful in the future.” I could not agree more.
The thing is, God sees the full picture. Well…He was the one that created the picture in the first place. He knows the path He wants to take you through and the things you will need to go through that path. Someone may be wondering why God couldn’t just take them through an easier path. I used to think like that. Why did I have to leave my Masters degree one month into it? Couldn’t God have taken me through a path that involved finishing the degree? While I realise now that I cannot question God’s sovereignty, I have also realised that to accomplish great things you have to overcome great trials. I like the way James puts it;
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Bad experiences make you better if you choose to see the positive side. I was depressed for a month when things did not go the way I hoped but when I decided to pick myself up and hold on to the promises of God for me, things began to transform. It wasn’t immediate. It took months and though I have not yet arrived; I am in a much better place right now. That experience in 2011 also prepared me for future challenges. I was much stronger. My faith in God grew and generally, I became a better person; with greater wisdom and knowledge.
No experience is a waste. Always remember there is a purpose for what you are going through. That relationship that didn’t work out…there is a reason why. That job you didn’t get…it also has a purpose. Yes it hurts right now but something much better is coming. Read the Scripture from James quoted above again; it says when your faith is tried you learn how to endure and when endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete. My pastor told me that anywhere you see the word ‘perfect’ used in the Bible, it means ‘mature’. So bad or difficult experiences make you mature and complete! Isn’t that great?
So count it all joy because truly, that experience will become a thing of joy for you.