Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I wonder if you’ve heard the name Malcolm Muggeridge? Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, and media personality. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy.
In the aftermath of the war, as a hugely influential London journalist, he converted to Christianity and helped bring Mother Teresa to popular attention in the West. He was also a critic of the sexual revolution and of drug use. He died in 1990.
A brilliant young journalist and a man with a foot in the real world but with a thirst for the spiritual truths of Christianity. He is very funny and scathing at times, especially with regard to the mainstream Church. He was also a Marxist before he found Christ as his personal Saviour.
During the Cold War he travelled to Russia to write a story about the Communist party and the decline of religion in that atheistic regime. After conducting a series of interviews with officials in the Kremlin, he attended a Russian Orthodox Easter service. The church was packed. At the close of the service the priest said, Christ is risen, and the people shouted back, He is risen indeed! Malcolm Muggeridge looked into their faces and instantly realised that they were right and that Stalin was wrong. He said it was the reality of their joy that tipped the scales of his soul toward Christ.
In one of his many interviews as an older man he said, “I have learned more from my troubles than my successes”. I think it’s a very interesting concept. It comes from life’s experiences—both good and bad, all mixed up together. Drew Barrymore once said, “Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” She is saying something similar to Malcolm Muggeridge.
Your Attitude to Problems Is Critical
Life is a series of problem-solving opportunities. The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you—depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring. Have you ever stopped to consider you can learn more from difficulties? What is God saying to you?
Proverbs 20:30 in the Old Testament says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” I thinks that’s a tremendous way of putting it. Occasionally in life God uses specific situations to move us on or take another viewpoint. It may not be the most pleasant thing, but if you trust him, everything has a divine purpose—even the pain. I know it’s easy for me to say, but God is bigger than your problems.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
It’s just not a cliché. In Romans 8:28 the Bible promises, “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.”
Notice the verse doesn’t say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. And notice that the verse doesn’t say we all will see immediately or even in this life how God has caused good to emerge from a bad circumstance. Remember, we only see things dimly in this world.
Don’t Let Negative Experiences Stop You
You might say, No, he can’t bring good out of my circumstance. The harm was too great, the damage was too extreme, the depth of my suffering has been too much.
But if you doubt God’s promise, listen to what a wise man once said:
God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe— the death of God on the cross—and turned it into the very best thing that has happened in history of universe: the opening up of heaven to all who follow him.
If God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them?
British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. He had been in and out of hospitals his whole life—and yet he made the astounding comment that he thinks God is fair. Reid asked him, “How old are you?” The boy said, “Seventeen.” Reid asked, “How many years have you spend in hospitals?” The boy said, “Thirteen years.” The pastor said with astonishment, “And you think that is fair?” And the boy replied: “Well, God has all eternity to make it up to me.”
Don’t let the negative experiences stop you from enjoying a happy and productive life.