Beauty Out of Ashes

I have a friend who is going through a bad break up.  It’s the kind of break up that hurts your heart so badly you don’t know when or if it will ever stop hurting.  I hurt for my friend, because I know what it’s like to hurt that way too.  If you’ve experienced deep hurt, you can empathize for a friend seeking relief.  We all long for hope in our despair, or some sign that eventually things will be okay and we will feel normal again.  I long to bring my friend hope, but I haven’t been able to quite find the words.  Everything that comes to mind sounds cliché or trite.  I would be justified to tell her to “hang in there,” or to remind her that “this too shall pass” because that is what everyone gets away with saying when they don’t know what else to say.  But I want to tell my friend the truth, because I believe the truth sets us free and brings hope. 

Joseph’s words in Genesis 50: 20 bring great hope.  He says to his brothers (that once caused him deep hurt), “What you intended for evil, God intended for good to accomplish what is now being done.”  I want eyes like Joseph to see the hurtful and hard times of my life as God’s purposes being worked out for the good.  Joseph’s faith, his trust in God to do good things through, around, and in the midst of bad things, is staggering to me.  He reminds me of Romans 8:28 when Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  God is bigger than what happens to us, and he’s infinitely more able to make beauty from ashes than we can understand or predict.  His character is good, and His promise for those in Christ is that everything will be worked out for the good. 

Last night I told my friend that every great love story involves periods of loneliness and heartache that build your character and make you more ready for the love eventually coming your way.  I basically told her that even though it doesn’t feel like it, there is value in what she’s experiencing because she’s being refined, and will come out of it stronger.  I told her I know that doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it can give purpose to your pain, and bring hope for what’s to come. 

May we be a hopeful people who look with Joseph’s eyes to seek the greater good God is working out in us.