Are the hurts and mistakes of days gone by getting you down? Think your future is shot because of your past?
A few years ago, this was my story. Not only had I made huge mistakes that looked and felt like a big “scarlet letter” on my sweater, but I also had so much brokenness as a result of circumstances that were not my choice. How could I have any hope of overcoming my past? How could anyone see me as valuable when I had such broken places in my history?
And that’s when God spoke up. It’s hard to explain how it happened exactly, but I was sitting in church one Sunday, wandering from the sermon, lamenting these very things, when God impressed something in my heart that would prove powerful and life changing for my future. The opal.
My earthly father brought me an opal necklace from a visit to Australia when I was in high school, and that day in church (then in my 30s), wearing my opal necklace, my Heavenly Father brought me an opal promise. He impressed upon me that just as a radiant and colorful opal is formed out of great brokenness, so my life would someday display radiant beauty because of my past, not in spite of it.
Well, I knew this had to be from God, because I had no idea how opals were formed. This foreign explanation surfacing in my thoughts was all news to me! I went home to do some research, and sure enough. Opals are formed when there are great blows or areas of devastation to the earth’s surface where water and silica are deposited. Over time and under intense heat and pressure, the opal is formed. Now, I’m not much of a science buff, but this information was pretty amazing and it brought incredible hope into my life, especially in light of the very difficult, messy divorce I was going through at that time.
Eleven years after that dark, lonely period in my life, I can say that God has fulfilled this promise to me and made my life like new! In the way only He can do, He has brought so much beauty into those areas once devastated. I know that I am who I am today because of my past.
· I would not have such a powerful testimony had I not gone through such difficulties and trials where God had the opportunity to reveal His redemptive work to others around me.
· I would not have the joy of experiencing miraculous contrasts had I not experienced such low and difficult times that have completely gone to the other extreme by the work of Jesus in my life.
· I would not know just how amazing the power of God to rescue, save, and restore, had I not been so lost, desperate, and broken!
One thing that really gave me hope through those dark times is the fine art of personalizing Scripture to help me through. God spoke some really beautiful themes into my life through His word that were lifelines. If you are going through a time of despair and brokenness, I hope these verses will give you strength to carry on. Even more so, I hope they will inspire you to get into the Word to find out even more about the heart of our Great God of contrasts and divine beauty. And don’t forget to personalize them…
But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Isaiah 43:1-5 (selected)
“Pay attention, O Israel, for you are my servant. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget to help you. I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” Isaiah 44:21-22
…For the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his own. …God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. Isaiah 62:4-5 (selected)
For the LORD your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” Zephaniah 3:17
Today, dwell on the great and priceless treasure that you are to your Heavenly Father. He longs to restore your life like a radiant opal if only you will place everything in His loving hands and surrender to Him. Your past is in the past. Your future can be made new when you bring it to Him. He is in the business of turning brokenness and ashes into beauty.
Lee Warren is a forty-something-year-old single person who lives in Nebraska. He is the author of the book Single Servings: 90 Devotions to Feed Your Soul, published by Revell. Julie Ferwerda is a forty-something married person who has had a spectrum of experiences in the single’s life after divorce. She is the author of “The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love,” and has written dozens of singles articles for CBN and other publications.