When I realized exactly what “so that” was referring to, I became so intrigued.
I had never given any creed to that little two-word phrase in the Bible, or how many countless times it appears, until my friend Wendy brought it to life in her new bible study book Living So That: Making Faith Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.
As I read through the book, I loved seeing the reality of how every word in the Bible was written “so that” something could be learned, and “so that” we could grow in our faith. Every word had a purpose that fulfills something important to our life. I loved all the chapters in Wendy’s book, and the verses and study questions really made you think. But if I had to pick my favorite chapter, I would pick Chapter Four, titled Trials Come So That…
Recently at a women’s retreat where I was speaking, a woman came up to me afterwards to share how God had spoken to her heart during the event. In talking, she made a comment that stuck with me. During my messages, I had shared some very difficult experiences I had gone through, and how God had worked in them, and she stated how she couldn’t believe how much I had gone through at such a young age. My first thought was, “Yes! She said I was young.” Smiles.
But after she walked away, I considered more about what she had said, and found myself thinking “Yeah, I actually have been through a lot. No fair!” Maybe you can relate to feeling that way too. Over a period of several years, I have found myself in many valleys filled with family issues, deaths, illnesses of loved ones, financial hardship, marital challenges, parenting stressors, problems with people, difficult work circumstances, heartache, personal setbacks….
As I pondered all that I’ve experienced, I could have begun questioning God’s ways. But I quickly remembered that I was there, on that particular weekend in that particular church, “so that” God could use the peace and joy I have found in the midst of my trials, and the purpose that has blossomed out of them, to encourage others to embrace those gifts in their own lives.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I’m certainly not going to say I considered all those problems as joyful. That would be a lie. But I can say I have seen proof that all that testing of my joy helped me mature spiritually, strengthen my faith walk and pull me closer to God as I encountered His power and loving intervention.
I can now look back and see that God allowed parenting challenges, “so that” I could mature as a parent and lean on Him for guidance instead of my own emotions. He allowed marital challenges, “so that” my husband and I would need to look to Him for strength and the will to persevere, and “so that” we could spiritually grow as a couple. He purposed for difficult circumstances of my past to become my testimony, “so that” I could encourage others who felt hopeless or worthless. He allowed unfair things to happen to me at work and in my personal life, “so that” I could work on softening my heart and learning to forgive those who hurt me.
There are by far too many “so that” lessons in my life to list, but this chapter in Wendy’s book served as a reminder of how good God really is and helped me remember that He does all things and said every holy Word and instruction “so that” we can come to know Him more.
Wendy has graciously offered to allow me to give away one of her books today. To enter to win your own copy of Wendy’s study, leave a comment similar to one I may have shared above, but sharing your own “so that” statement. Briefly share how God has used a particular circumstance or situation for a specific purpose so that you could learn something valuable or see Him at work.
If you are an email subscriber, please CLICK HERE to return to my blog and enter to win. All entries must be submitted on my blog only. Winner to be announced on Friday March 20th.
Check out these other great offers too!
Wendy’s book will be the subject of the next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, beginning April 6th. If you’d like to get involved click here to sign up, and get your sneak peek at Chapter One of ‘Living So That’ by clicking here!
Wendy is also giving away a great free companion devotional called Five Days to a Faith-Full Life, click here for the free download.