Most people have heard the term, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The reference is usually used about judging people by the way they talk, dress, or look. Great advice and most people agree that is a nugget of wisdom we should all apply in our lives. But what about your trials? How often have you faced a trial, tribulation, or any circumstance that you were not planning on and you immediately judged it as the “worst thing that could happen”? Or, “this couldn’t come at a worst time”? Perhaps you ask “why me?”.
Often those same trials are looked back on, after a passing of time, with a grateful heart and thoughts that it might have been the best thing that ever happened to you. Why is that? Simple, God works in ways that we do not understand. He does however promise that He will always work things for our good: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT) When we immediately judge a trial as “bad” we short-circuit what God is doing or going to do.
Joseph’s story is in the Old Testament of the Bible. God had shown him through dreams that he was going to be a leader in his family and nation. Soon after he found himself imprisoned because of his brothers’ betrayal. The path toward leadership seemed to be unattainable. Yet, God used all of the trials to get Joseph right where He wanted him to be. “Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, ‘Kneel down!’ So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, ‘I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.'” (Genesis 41:41-44, NLT) This path to leadership would probably not have been Joseph’s first choice but God was working.
Later when speaking with his brothers, who had betrayed him and sold him into slavery, Joseph said this: “‘Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.'” (Genesis 50:19-20, NLT)
Perspective is much easier to have as hindsight, but imagine if you could begin to live your life in such a way as to trust God in the very worst of times and not judge a trial by its cover. They would no longer steal your joy and peace. Worry would vanish. What good is worry doing you anyway? In Matthew 6:27 Jesus asked “‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?'” The answer? No! But it sure can rob us of our joy, peace, and even our days of living.
What To Do Instead
When you start to worry, you feel you can’t control it. You feel it beginning to rob you of your joy and peace. You realize at that moment that you are judging your trials by its cover. What do you do? In the New Testament Paul gives us the answer: pray. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)
What if you just replaced all of the time you spend worrying and fretting about a trial and invested it in prayer instead? It would change your life! If you no longer let life’s trials rob you of the good things of God, peace and joy, you would begin to have God’s perspective much sooner. You could celebrate knowing that what the enemy, others or life “intended to harm you, God intended for your good.”
P.S. Who do you know that could use these Life Palette words of encouragement today? Take a moment and hit the share button, they will be glad you did.