We may not always expect our place of preparation to be a pit as it was for Joseph (starting in Genesis 37), but such was certainly the case for me in my walk. Something my son Jonathan said to me some time ago comes to my mind a lot. When I spoke of how God seemed to use me more than I would have expected when I was in the pit, Jonathan’s reply was,“To you, it was a pit, but to God it was a place of preparation.”
My pit was having to deal with mental illness for so many years that appeared to have no end. It was made of dark days and nights of suffering to the point of suicide attempts, self-harm, self-hate, and total hopelessness. There were trips to the mental hospital and years in psychotherapy with meds and diagnoses that were placed on me. There were so many days I hated to open my eyes from sleep (when I did sleep). So much of the time, my mind and body did not feel like my own, as I never knew from moment to moment how my mood would be, what might happen next, or who I would become. To think back on all this, I never would have imagined that this dark pit was a place of preparation.
For some reason, my son’s words hit me so powerfully and have stuck with me, words that cause me to look back and see that all the struggles I experienced indeed held purpose. The many years of looking up from that dark pit that held me captive and far out of reach from the light above, I had no idea that all along what God was doing.
That pit of preparation is where I had dreams which, at the time, I did not know were prophetic. And I see now how I was drawn to press in closer to the Lord. While looking through my journals from that time, I saw how much I was actually talking to the Lord. I yearned and cried out to Him while searching His Word. The Lord reached me in my darkest places and put songs in my heart. And through my poems where I expressed myself, I saw Him. I came to know in my heart that He was with me.
During those long, isolated periods is when the Lord began to deal with the layers of my soul. The process was long and difficult, but as the Lord removed, He replaced, giving me beauty for ashes. He gave me a heart that had compassion for the hurting and began to build up an intercessor within me.
Thank You, dear Lord, for even the hard times and struggles being purposeful and useful to You. Many times, we may not see or know the way which You are taking us, but, through it all, may our hearts truly know and grasp that we can trust that You will bring us out. And those chains that held us for a season must give way when You speak, “IT IS TIME!” Glory to God!
Purposeful (adjective) 1. Having meaning through having an aim. 2. Serving as or indicating the existence of a purpose or goal.
Give way (Verb) 1. Stop operating or functioning. 2. End resistance, as under pressure or force. 3. Move in order to make room for someone for something. 4. Break down, literally or metaphorically. (Sage Dictionary)
What the enemy means for our harm, to kill, steal and destroy (and to keep us captive), God means and uses for His good intent and purpose.
John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Genesis 50:20 (NLT) You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Psalm 33:11 (MEV) The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the purposes of His heart to all generations.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.