This same boy became a man and went on a mission to disprove the resurrection.
His name is Josh McDowell and he wrote the very first Christian book I ever read called More Than a Carpenter. Today, he has ministered to many. His latest release, which is titled Undaunted: One Man’s Real-Life Journey from Unspeakable Memories to Unbelievable Grace, will no doubt minister to many more.
Just like when Joseph was sold into slavery, God took the evil inflicted on this kid and brought about something good.
But these bad things that happen? They weren’t a part of God’s plan.
God’s plan was Eden. Perfection. Harmony. A place where pain and suffering didn’t exist. A place free from shame and guilt and jealousy and depression and every other negative emotion that pockmarks the soul.
Obviously, something went awry. All we have to do is flip on the news or open a paper or, heck, live life for a day or two and we get that this world is far from harmonious.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.
It wasn’t God’s will for spouses to cheat.
It wasn’t God’s will for moms to get cancer.
It wasn’t God’s will for parents to lose children.
It wasn’t God’s will for anyone to get sick or abandoned or abused.
Orphanages were not a part of God’s plan.
Prisons were not a part of God’s plan.
Homeless shelters were not God’s plan.
Hospices were not God’s plan.
None of these things were part of the plan.
But they happen.
Because ever since sin entered the world, we exist in a state of decay.
The good news?
Jesus came to set us free from sin’s penalty and one day, He’ll return and restore all that is broken.
God can use those broken, messy, shameful, ugly things in our lives.
He can redeem what is hideous. He can shine light in the darkness. He can renew hope for the hopeless. He can breathe purpose into the seemingly senseless pain we sometimes endure. He can draw us closer to Him than we’ve ever been. He can bring wildflowers from winter.
We just have to let Him.
I don’t love reading these kinds of stories because I’m sadistic and enjoy hearing about people’s pain and hardship.
I love reading them because they are a tiny glimpse, a glorious preview, of the redemption that is to come.
Let’s Talk: What’s your take on suffering and hardship? Why does it exist?
If you’re interested in a fictional story that explores this idea of beauty from brokenness, check out the first three chapters of my debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter. I hope this book will renew the hope that is all too easily lost in the midst of hardship. Be blessed, readers!
*Photo by the talented Robert Michie*