>By Allen White
The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. Esther 8:11-12
The king’s edict brought about a radical new turn of events. Now instead of the Jewish people fearing their captors and neighbors, they were charged with defending themselves. It was probably wise that the king allowed the Jews to defend themselves. After all, their enemies probably hadn’t had time to check their email or twitter since they were busy preparing for battle. If word hadn’t reached those who were planning to attack, then the edict really made no difference at all.
Now, instead of being sitting ducks on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month according to the first edict (Esther 3:13), the Jews would experience the other side of the coin. The day that was intended for their destruction would now be a day of victory. God turned things around.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from the story of Joseph in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Satan’s plan is to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10), but God has other plans.
Over the years, I have witnessed people who have suffered the pain of divorce reach out to others who are experiencing divorce. I’ve seen drug addicts and ex-cons, deal with their addictions and help others find recovery. Our enemy intends to destroy us. God intends to deliver us, and those around us.
A few years ago, several of our members lost their spouses. We didn’t have a Grief Recovery group in place at our church in California at that time, but I knew that we needed to do something. I ordered the curriculum, but had no idea who would lead the group.
The curriculum arrived on a Monday morning. Later that morning, I received a communication card that someone put in the offering the previous day. The card said, “My husband died in a car accident while I was pregnant with triplets, then I lost one of the triplets. If anyone needs help dealing with their grief, I am available to help. Brandy.” I had never heard of this person before. I was dumbfounded. I looked at the box of grief curriculum, and then I looked at the card in my hand. Then, back at the box, then back at the card. Only God could have put this together.
After a quick check to see who knew Brandy and could vouch for her, I called Brandy and told her the story. She told me about the painful events of her life and how God’s people had come to her aid. A church she didn’t attend supplied three of everything she needed for her new babies. Brandy was ready to bless others out of her tragedy.
Paul writes, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God certainly enabled Brandy to use the comfort she had received to comfort others.
How has the enemy intended to destroy you? What things have hateful people done to try to do you in physically or emotionally? There is a sweet sense of victory, when we can turn these things around on the enemy and use our painful experiences to glorify God. How can the pain on your life help another person and glorify God today?
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>By Allen White