“What if everything happening around you right now was happening FOR you, not TO you?” Graham Cooke
Those are absolutely revolutionary, ground breaking, earth shattering words that can change everything. Totally rocked my world when I got ahold of the concept. If you are a “why me” or “woe is me,” or “why is this even happening” kind of person, grab ahold of those words.
True story, there was one week in my life where 3 of my family members were in the hospital, two were in jail, and my dog was dying. The dog dying at that very moment really was the last straw. I was trapped somewhere between grief, fear, and anxiety. Also, feelings of complete abandonment. God started whispering that very thing to me, all this stuff is not happening TO you, it is happening FOR you. For your benefit. For your good.
Romans 8:28 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.” I knew that verse intellectually, of course God works all things for good, but I’d completely missed the part about for MY good. For the good of whom? For YOUR good.
It’s not happening TO you, it’s happening FOR you, for your benefit. As that started clicking in my head, I just started praising the Lord for lifting these burdens from my hands. Jail is a good place to be if you’re trying to self destruct! So is the hospital! I had been in the position of trying to hold people together, trying to put out fires, and when they all face planted, welp, they were all finally getting the care that they needed and I was set free.
Let me tell you, that shift in mindset and perception actually got me into some trouble because I was feeling a bit like a princess just rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord and a couple of people were mad, they thought I didn’t care, they thought it was the wrong response to my circumstances, they found my grace and peace offensive.
Beware of that one too, sometimes when you find out the joy of the Lord really is your strength, other people won’t necessarily be there cheering you on.
Which brings me to two degrees of separation. A degree doesn’t sound like very much. 77 or 78 degrees in temp and it’s all good, not much difference there, but a degree in distance is actually about 60 miles. Two degrees of separation will take you about 120 miles off course. I know this on account of the fact that when we once sailed back from Hawaii, we had a compass that was off by 2 degrees. Two degrees is a long, long way off course, and it just gets progressively worse the farther you go.
I think of words sometimes as being much like degrees, one word like “TO” or “FOR” changes everything and sends you to an entirely different destination.
Here is something to take comfort in, I didn’t have Graham Cooke at the time, I didn’t have enough Bible knowledge to understand the passage myself, and God still managed to get the message through and to reach me with the precise wisdom I needed at just the right time. Not just wisdom, but truth too, truth that really works.