Homeless on the beach: Finding purpose in pain
Have you ever questioned the pain of your past? Are there moments in your life that you wish you’d never had to live through? Think about it this way: If Joseph’s brothers had never thrown him into the pit, if they had never sold him into slavery, and Potiphar had never thrown him in prison, he never would have met Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Every pain he experienced brought him one step closer to fulfilling the destiny that God had for him!
God begins to shape our perspective after painful experiences to one of overcoming adversity despite Satan’s attempt to destroy us. While we don’t look forward to trials, when we come through them, we can look back on the faithfulness of God—how He brought us through them and made us stronger.
For most of my life, I was convinced that God didn’t exist. But He was with me. God was with me when I sat homeless beside the ocean and wondered if anyone cared about me or wanted me.
Though I didn’t know Him, He knew me. He knew a day would come when He and I would meet face-to-face, and I would discover that He was there all along.
He didn’t need me to know His reality to intervene in my life and give His angels charge over me. Looking back to our days on the beach, I know the Lord sent angels to take care of and watch over me. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (NIV).
God gave me strength to walk through the trials of life. I spent years wishing I had a different life, that I had not endured such hardship and trauma. But it has caused me to reach out to people in pain and need. I am stronger. I know God more deeply. I understand pain and despair and hopelessness, and I have no doubt that Jesus is alive.
Jesus loves you. He sees you. He knows you. He cares about you. He has a purpose for you and a destiny for you to fulfill. There is no pit too deep, no problem too large, no past too dark that His love cannot cover, heal, and restore. Whatever you face today, you can get through this. He is with you, and He has already worked out how to bring you out and bring you through it.
Perhaps life has dealt you a few cards that were beyond your control, things you never saw coming. Maybe abuse and neglect in your childhood, the loss of a loved one who meant everything to you, or a divorce or separation in a marriage that you fought for with every ounce of your being. Hopelessness is a disease that tries to rob you of your dreams. We can talk about the miracles, the power of God, and all of the blessings that come from having a relationship with Jesus, but before all of this, you must have hope. Hope that a better day will come. Hope that things will turn around. Hope that your dreams will come to pass. Hope that will fill your soul to keep on moving despite what you see. Hope that we can find only in hope Himself, the giver of all hope — Jesus Christ.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
The night season will not last forever, and better days are coming. As a teenager, I ended up homeless on the beach with my dad. During that time I felt like darkness had overcome me to the core of my being and that no hope existed for a girl like me. But the hope in me was not entirely dead.
Don’t let life extinguish the hope in you. Lean into the heart of God and take hold of His promises for you. Maybe you’ve been in the valley of weeping much longer than you ever thought you would be. But we serve a God who fulfills every promise He gives to His children, and He will see you through this trial. For every difficult season, God brings victory out of you, a powerful proclamation to the world around you. It will testify to the goodness of God. Joseph spent years in the valley of weeping, and God used him mightily to save an entire nation.
As you lean into God’s heart today, pray this prayer out loud, right where you are:
Father, thank You for all You have done for me. Thank You for Your testimony in my life and for using everything meant for evil for my good. Lord, use what Satan meant to destroy me for Your glory. You are my Comforter and my Deliverer; thank You for drawing me close to Your heart, Lord. Encounter me face-to-face in this season like never before. I pray that the light of Your countenance would shine over me and my family. Father, protect and surround me with Your mighty angels, that no evil will befall me and no plague come near my dwelling (Psalm 91:10). Hide me in the shadow of your wing all the days of my life. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
Adapted from Hope in 60 Seconds: Encountering the God of the Impossible by Cristina Baker. Copyright © 2022 by Cristina Baker. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson. Thomasnelson.com
Cristina Baker is an author, who is passionate to see people encounter the love of God and find hope in his Son Jesus Christ. She has a deep desire for people to find victory and freedom through the power of prayer. Cristina resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Ryan, and their teenage son, Evan.
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