Okay, I'm going to begin a weekly post called "What I'm Learning Wednesday". I realize that Wednesday is almost over but, honestly, it is the only day of the week that sounded right when I was trying to think of a name. This weekly post will, hopefully, help keep me accountable to you as my blog readers and to the Lord as I try to become more like Christ each day. Now, on to the post!
Do you ever feel like you have a theme going on in your life? I feel that way a lot of the time. God will teach me something over and over through my personal devotions as well as different people. I think it is so neat how He works all that out. It may be, though, that I am just stubborn and God has to beat me over the head with something before it actually sinks in. :)
Anyway, the theme for my life right now is ministering to others through personal experiences. Through tragedy, through weakness, through past sin, through joys. Would you like an example? Okay!
On January 11, 2006, my younger brother suddenly passed away. It was definitely a tragic situation for my family and me as we dealt with this loss. As people encouraged and supported me through the weeks and months that followed, one of the things that I was told over and over was that God would receive glory through my brother's death. Guess what? He did. I have heard many stories of lives that had been changed through his death. You know what, though? I am changed! The Lord plucked me up from that tragedy and got hold of my life. I have grown closer to God in the past five years than I ever imagined I could.
One of the neat things about any tragedy, though, is that there are two directions a person can run: to God or away from Him. I am so thankful that I found refuge in my great God. I don't want to even think about where I would be if I had made a different decision.
A couple of weeks ago marked the five year anniversary of his passing. In the two days following, two separate friends lost brothers and sisters in tragic accidents. I now have a unique connection to each of those friends that not everyone else does. I know how it feels to lose a younger sibling unexpectedly. I know the emotions associated with the grief that follows. And I know how it feels to make it to the other side of the tragedy. My prayer is that God was glorified through my interactions with each of those friends in the days that followed their tragedies.
The Lord truly works all things together for our good and His glory! I always miss my brother. But I am thankful that I know where he is and that I will see him again soon. Most of all, though, I am reminded of the changed person I am because of His death. Right after he died, I would have never imagined that I would be the subject of God's working in that type of situation.
Remember that God has allowed certain experiences into your life for a reason. You may not know why you have to go through this thing at the time, but chances are that you will one day encounter someone else who has had that same experience. Personal experiences are just that--personal. You can use something that you have gone through to help others in their time of need.
Now, it's your turn! Have you ever helped someone by drawing on a past experience?