I wonder, as I think about this man's regrets, if my words, the ones I use to tell my story, will bring fame to my enemy.
I hope not.
Words are powerful. The tongue that speaks those words are as strong as a rudder that turns a ship to the left and to the right. (James 3:4) And I'm afraid that my words might turn someone's eyes in the wrong direction. Toward the wrong person.
I worry in telling my story, with all the pain and all the loss and all the struggle, that I might turn someone toward the one that made the pit instead of the One that lifted me out of it.
I want to be honest and real, in sharing the consolation that I've been given to those that might need it, but I also don't want them to zero-in on the hurt instead of the healing.
I don't want to pretend that life is easy, that all the pain is gone, or that I have become the strong person I've always wanted to be.
I want them to see me.
The real me.
Simultaneously hurt and healed.
Living in loss and abundance.
Living with unanswered questions but full of confidence in God's goodness and provision.
Weak but strong in Jesus.
I'm not always sure how to share my story.
I'm not always sure when to share my story.
How far do I go? How much do I share?
Will my words add to the hopeless despair that the world already breathes in and out?
Or will they be heard as a reminder that all can be truly well with our souls?
I ask myself how do I share the Light without sharing the dark?
How do I share the comfort without first sharing the pain?
How do I explain the wonder of being found without sharing the fear and horror of being lost?
I think about Joseph, and the terrible things that others did to him.
His brothers sold him into slavery, not having any thoughts of the brutality he would suffer in his captivity.
The wife of Joseph's friend accused him of violating her, and his friend believed her, and Joseph was thrown in prison.
While in prison, Joseph shared his gifts with another prisoner that led to the prisoner being freed. Joseph asked to be remembered in his release. The man forgot Joseph.
Joseph lived most of his life away from his father whom he loved. From the security of home. He lived in exile with those of a different culture and a different faith. Joseph lived a lonely life.
Joseph's pain, his rejection, his suffering, and his lonliness are told in his story.
But when I get to the end of Joseph's story, the heartache and disappointment are dimmed by two words.
Two words that turned all the fame and all the glory back to the One, and Only One, Who is Worthy.
Two words that turned the table on the one that seeks fame from his evil acts.
Two words that take the pen out of the hand of the one who wants to write our stories, and tries to convince us that he is the author of our lives.
Two words that give us eyes to see that the pen was never taken from the Author of our lives, and that everything He writes is ultimately for our good, and for His glory.
So, when I stumble while telling my story and I use too many words, or too few...
When my words fall out all over the place and make a big messy heap...
When I'm heavy on the hurt instead of the healing, or the pain instead of the joy, please remember Joseph's two words . . . BUT GOD.
"You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done . . ."
Yes, Lord.. In every story you have given me to share, and in all the ones you are still writing for me, may I bring fame to you with the two words . . . BUT GOD.
"Your name, O Lord, endures forever.
Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations."