Finding good in the bad

By Becky Spell Vann - Contributing columnist

When you are hurting, do you run to God? When past mistakes and tough times tear your heart to shreds, do you dwell on them or trust in Him? This story stirred while cleaning out my magazine basket with all intentions of throwing away every old issue. Two hours later, sitting cross-legged with discard stacks much smaller than the keepers, I hopped up (ever so slowly) and settled in my special spot where the sea can be seen from my window. Words flow freely as clouds roll in over the water and raindrops fall like teardrops against the window that keeps me dry.

One particular magazine survived the trash pile and stirred this story with an article that challenged readers with questions like: ‘Who do you run to in times of trouble and Do you believe God forgives, forgets the past, and is about to do something new? Recounting seasons past, I remembered times when running seemed easier than the reality of writing wounded, without answers of which way to go when storms hit and how to move forward when the ones ‘I promised to love and cherish through sickness and health until death parted us’… were called Home! Pondering my path, I stopped to thank God for being there every time I ran to Him with answers and proof that in His perfect timing, He binds wounds, heals hearts, and brings good from bad according to His plans for our lives.

So, who are we running to when past mistakes magnify misery while writing through seasons of sunshine and sorrow? We cannot go back and rewrite chapters any more than we can unscramble an egg. Dwelling on the past can destroy one’s future, while learning from the past can change one’s perspective and put people back on track to God’s plans, which are higher and make for happy days again! Running to God instead of away from Him reveals hearts that trust and obey, knowing there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey. Yet, the devil continuously pulls like a magnet, dangling sin and destroying lives if we are weak and run to him. Then, the enemy magnifies past mistakes hoping we will stay disconnected in the hog pen, wallowing in sin, writing chapters of misery with no happily ever after when we face…The End here.

The Prodigal Son ran from the Lord and loved ones, causing pain and problems for him and them. He ran from responsibilities and rewards of a good life thinking the grass was greener on the other side. His family missed him but kept the home fires burning and the fields blooming in his absence. Have you been on the run with family hoping and praying for you to reconnect and go home, or have you stayed firm in faith, taking care of what God has entrusted in your care, missing loved ones gone astray, praying for them every day, and longing for them to reconnect and come home? The wayward son’s father was waiting and willing to forgive and welcome him home with open arms! However, his older brother carried a heavy load of responsibility and bitterness because of his little brother’s choice to take his blessing and hit the road. The older brother’s hardened heart and hurt feelings kept him from reaping the reward God gives when we are willing to forgive, even when we feel justified to stay angry and disconnected from the ones who love us most and the One who created and cares for us through hogs pens and hallelujahs!

Running from the Lord, living in the past, and brooding over hurtful happenings can keep God’s children disconnected from Him.

Isaiah 43:18-19 gives a simple, straightforward message as we press forward in a world where sin saturates, hatred escalates, and horrible happenings get continuous coverage. The devil’s plans include making people’s lives a living hell forever and ever. God’s plan includes happiness here (even when writing hard chapters) and in Heaven for eternity! Running to Christ is a smart choice for all His children.

God promises to forgive and wipe away past sins when we confess and reconnect. While God forgives and forgets, consequences come even though our sins are washed away and we become brand new. We chose to turn our eyes upon Jesus – before things of the world can make our connection to Him grow strangely dim. He cares for and cleanses all His children…even the ones who promote hatred, horror, and hatefulness in the world He created. He forgave the man with a past who connected and died beside His Son. He will do the same for you and me. God is no respecter of persons and recognizes wrongful acts…even small things that we cling to, like unforgiving one who has hurt us. When our phones are disconnected because we neglect paying the bill, we can reconnect by paying a fee. Being disconnected from God and dabbling in sin brings consequences too. Cleansing hearts and clinging to Christ makes for happy writing. Living unconnected and unhappy without God as the main character makes for a dismal ending to our love stories. Hell, without God, waits for those who don’t know Jesus. Heaven, with God, is waiting with reservations for those whose Best Friend is Jesus.

The rest of this story comes next week. Until then, enjoy Labor Day and ponder on who you run to when you are hurting.

By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.

Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.