Have you ever had it happen that something seemed a disaster, but turned out to be a blessing in the end? Have you been tempted to grumble to God about delays and messed up plans, then later thank Him for trouble you’d been spared?
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ran along the dock one day to catch the ship heading for home. He’d been delayed too long by a fussy editor and was grieved to see the ship just pulling away from the pier. When he reached the ship it was still so close he contemplated a big leap, but the possibility of landing in the ocean didn’t appeal to him so he sadly turned away.
The ship never reached its destination; it struck something en route and down it went with everyone on it. The Longfellow family were expecting him home on that ship. When they got the news of its sinking they were heartbroken — until they got his wire the next morning informing them he’d missed the boat and was still among the living.
I read an account recently about soldiers engaged in combat near the city of Sevastopol in Russia. At one point they heard the whistle of an enemy shell and covered their heads, preparing for the worst. Thankfully the shell passed over them and landed on the side of a hill nearby, blowing a crater in it.
To their surprise a little trickle of water began to flow out of the hole. Soon it was a tiny bubbling fountain and they realized that the explosion had exposed a hidden spring. As the battle continued the spring became a gushing stream where they filled their canteens and drank of the refreshing clear water.
That which was intended to kill them, which did indeed strike fear into their hearts, actually proved a moral-lifting blessing and source of new strength.
Consider the story of Joseph. If ever someone had cause to be dismayed and lose hope at the way circumstances were unfolding, it must have been that Hebrew lad. In a fit of spite his brothers tossed him into a pit, stripped off the beautiful coat his father had made, dipped it in blood and headed home with the evidence that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Joseph they sold to passing slave traders.
To add to his woes, after some years of faithful service to his master Joseph was falsely accused and sent to prison. Then he was forgotten by his fellow prisoner — the only one who could have done him a good turn — as soon as the fellow was released.
Yet later he told his brothers (my paraphrase), “You meant to do me harm, but God used my situation here to accomplish his purpose.”
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7. See also Genesis 50:20.
So if you’re going through a rough patch, give it to the Lord and soldier on. Time will tell what He will do with it — but it will be for your good, if you leave it in His hands.
The thickest clouds often bring the heaviest showers of blessing.