There’s power in the word, “but.”
No really, there is.
That sounds really cheesy to say so, but in reality, it really is powerful. It’s easy to forget the impact the word “but” has because the horrible activity that is usually associated with it can appear to drown out the word. I know I’m not the only one who has messed up and faced consequences or has been in the midst of an impossible situation.
It’s these two areas in your life I would like to speak to you about.
This morning I opened my devotional Bible to read the passage for the day and I was directed to Judges 14. I kind of skimmed through the story of Samson… through chapter 15 then chapter 16. But about halfway through chapter 16, a verse stuck out to me. I had forgotten about it, but instantly remembered it was one of my favorite verses in the Bible because of the power of it’s words:
“But before long, his hair began to grow back.” (vs. 22)
For those of you who have no idea who Samson was or can’t remember, this passage probably makes NO sense out of context. So here’s the quick backstory:
Samson was born to a couple who were unable to have kids for years. And angel of the LORD appeared to the woman one night and told her about a son whom she would soon have who He was going to use to deliver the Israelites, but He has specific instructions for her to follow, as well as for Samson to, in order for God to be able to use him. These instructions were simple, yet unique – the main one being Samson couldn’t cut his hair.
I think my favorite thing about Samson was the fact he wasn’t perfect. In fact, he reminds me so much of myself in that he always pushed the buttons when it came to rules, except when it came to his hair. He actually kept it long… and God did use him because of that! Despite all of his flaws, God still did many acts of deliverance through Samson. It was crazy how many Philistines he killed with random objects. He almost puts Jason Bourne to scorn.
And then he met a woman named Delilah, a Philistine. Oh Delilah. Not long after Samson fell in love with her, some Philistine rulers came to her to see if she could figure out Samson’s secret to his strength and his ability to defeat Philistines. Three times she asked him and three times he lied. And then she did the stereotypical woman thing – she guilt tripped him, day after day. It’s amazing how things never change after Millenniums…
He got so tired of her pouting and making a big deal about it that he finally gave in and told her his secret – cut his hair and he would become weak, like everyone else. So she shared his secret to the rulers, lulled him to sleep, cut his hair, and had them arrest him. They in turn cut out his eyes and bound him onto a grain grinder in prison.
It was during this time that the infamous verse I just mentioned occurred.
It was during those dark days… the ones after he messed up, the ones after he was taken advantage of… that God’s redemption and healing began to take place. And notice, it was slow. It wasn’t overnight like God’s work in our lives sometimes can be. It was slow and it was subtle.
For those of you who are struggling with past mistakes that appear to haunt or affect your everyday life, I just want to encourage you that you are not unforgivable. There is nothing so bad that you cannot receive grace and mercy. It may not look like it now, but God is still at work in your life. He is using the bad in your life, redeeming it, and going to turn it into good to bring glory to His name. Turn back to Jesus and allow Him to mend you and your life.
For those who are in a hopeless situation, one full of darkness and despair, I just want to encourage you that you are not forgotten. There is no pit so deep that God can’t get to and that He can’t get you out of. Keep pressing in and keep daring to hope because you’re SO close to a breakthrough God has in store for you. Give your worries and cares to God and let Him continue to work in your life. It may not seem like it, but He’s there in the midst of your life, through the highs and lows. It’s during these rough times that God does His most work in your life.
Before long, you will notice your “hair has grown back,” in whatever way that looks like in your life.
After Samson spent time in the prison, one day many, many Philistines decided to throw a huge party, offering sacrifices and praising their god, declaring how awesome he was because he had given them Samson (psh). They also decided they wanted to see Samson in order for them to mock him and laugh at how helpless he was. To Samson’s advantage, during this time of the celebration, they were all very drunk. He asked the kid leading him to the stage to place him against these pillars (that held up the building), that he may rest. He then proceeded to pray to God to remember him, to give him the strength he once had, in order for him to be able to pay the Philistines back for what they had done to him. And one last time, God gave him strength and he pushed on these pillars, causing him to kill more Philistines in his death than he had through his entire life to that point.
Not saying you have to die in order for God’s redemption to happen in your lives, but there is a humility that comes from asking for God’s help, especially if we’ve been trying to obtain hope and redemption on our own.
Let’s take the lesson Samson learned after losing his strength and eyes and thrown into prison – God hasn’t forgotten about us nor are we in a place where redemption is too far away for us to access. God can still use you and God can still do an incredible work in your life.
You just have to let Him.
Hope you have a blessed day.
Woman of Purity ~