Abundant Living Vol. XIV, Issue 20

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . .”   –  Genesis 50:20  

Our son Marc and his family have this beloved pet they named Porter, a sweet, gentle, lovable mixed-breed rescue dog who is playful, hysterically funny, and great with kids.  He also happens to be a huge animal and sometimes prone to mischief.  So tall is he, in fact, that a nice thick juicy steak sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be grilled is subject to being snatched into his jaws without any of his four paws ever leaving the floor.  And that’s been known to happen.  Several weeks ago, Porter noticed the pantry door slightly ajar.  Making sure no one was watching he then managed to nose the door wide open, from whence he proceeded to help himself to the merchandise.  By the time he finished the entire house looked like it had been ransacked by burglars.  Food was strewn about everywhere, including flour and cornmeal scattered all over the living room carpet and furniture.  As you can imagine, after that little incident Porter was quite in the doghouse, both literally and metaphorically . . . that is, until our three-year-old granddaughter Olive stepped in on his behalf.  “But Mommy,” she said to her mother in defense of the pet, “Porter is really a good puppy dog, he just makes bad choices.”

This little story, which is sure to live on in the annals of our family lore, reminds me that I’m not so different from Porter, that despite being basically a good person I have made more than my share of bad choices.  But bad choices can also serve as teaching moments that make us better; like the story of the young bank clerk about to be promoted to vice president, a position of great responsibility.  Approaching the bank president for wisdom the young man asked his superior, “What is the secret to success?”  “Right decisions,” the president replied.  “But what is the secret to right decisions?”  “Experience,” the president again replied.  “And what, sir, is the secret of gaining experience?” the young man finally asked, to which the wise executive exclaimed, “Wrong decisions.” 

“Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I can bring good even out of your mistakes,” quotes Sarah Young in her popular devotional book Jesus Calling.  “My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad choices into a lovely design.”  How amazing it that!  It’s exactly what Joseph told his brothers who years before had sold him into slavery, “You intended to harm me,” he said, “but God intended it for good.”

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