Forgiving God When Life’s Been Tough
On a recent trip to San Francisco I heard a sermon that changed my life. Not to be corny, but I believe it’s the Golden Gate that I've needed to cross over in order to reach my destiny and I want to share my experience with you.
The sermon was on bitterness and unforgiveness, a problem I didn't think I had. However, the clue that told me different was when the pastor asked, “Are you rehearsing, rehashing or replaying an offense?” It was the bullet between my eyes so to speak. Immediately I recounted several of my recent conversations. I indeed had a problem with bitterness and forgiveness.
So how was I blinded from seeing the realization of my predicament? I didn't see it because my bitterness and un-forgiveness was not directed at any one person or event. Instead it was the result of my season of life in which I've felt forgotten by God, held back and over looked. Without realizing it my rehearsing, rehashing and replaying of the past few years of disappointments had rendered me bitter. (I’m just keeping it real!)
The sermon was from the life of Joseph, a story I know well, so I almost tuned out. What hit me was when the pastor talked about the names Joseph gave his two sons. The first, Manasseh, which means, “God has made me forget all my trouble.” And the second Ephraim, which means, “God has blessed me in my land of affliction.”
As I reflected on my last three years and what started it all, (my battle with cancer), it feels like a bad dream that didn't really happen. God is helping me forget my trouble. While cancer has come and gone other problems have come and stayed and I've continued to live in a land of affliction. Even so, God has blessed me with much fruit in the land of my affliction.
Upon further reflection of Joseph’s story I noted that his sons were born after he became second in command of Egypt, but before his brothers showed up. Part of Joseph’s dream had come true- his sheaves of grain had risen and his brothers were suffering the effects of the drought. The total fulfillment of the dream with his brother’s bowing to him was right around the corner. Yet before his dream was completely realized, he had made peace with God and his lot in life.
Joseph’s famous words, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”, rang in my ears. My bitterness toward my season of life had kept me from seeing that God could use it for the saving of many lives. I didn't have a band of brothers to forgive, I needed to forgive God and in turn ask Him to forgive me for my bad attitude. That was the golden gate I needed to cross. I needed to make peace with God and my lot in life.
Do you need to cross the golden gate of forgiveness and let go of bitterness? God can’t fulfill our dreams until we do.