August 25, 1998
The first Ford cars had Dodge engines. Sorry, Ford fans, we all have to adjust to a reality at some time or another. Occasionally the opposition becomes an ally and sometimes our allies oppose us. Consider how it happens in sports. Wayne Gretsky, the ally, moved to Los Angeles and then New York. He became the opposition. We lost other stars and it seems unfair that our winners now defeat us.
In the spiritual realm, those who appear to oppose us sometimes wind up on our team. It happened to a man named Saul, who persecuted Christians. After God confronted him, Saul became Paul and one of the greatest Christian leaders in history.
Remember the Galloping Gourmet? A friend of mine tells me her father forbid her from watching his television show because he was a drunk and a bad influence. She says, “So I decided to pray that he become a Christian.” And he did! What was once a bad influence for her is now a good influence for everyone.
God is full of surprises. My oldest son once worked as an usher in a theater in California. A young television star came in and was creating a disturbance. My son said to him, “You are just as mouthy in real life as you are on your TV show.” A few weeks ago, I found a newspaper article about this same fellow. He is now a Christian preacher, serving the Lord with his mouth.
People are not the only opposition that can become an ally. I often write about how God “works all things together for the good of those who love Him.” Joseph is an Old Testament example. His brothers hated him, threw him into a pit then sold him as a slave.
Joseph wound up in Egypt, spent some time in jail for something he did not do, but eventually became a leader in that country. When a severe famine hit, he was instrumental in saving thousands of lives, including that of his entire family, even the brothers who tried to ruin him. He said to them, “You intended it for evil, but God used it for good.”
Only God can effectively turn evil around and use it for good. If we do something wrong and think we can make it okay, we only compound the problem. President Clinton is an example of that. He sinned against his wife, his family, other people, even a nation that trusted him, then tried to make it okay by “misleading” people. What good came out of that?
Old Testament king David did the same thing. He sinned with another woman, had her husband murdered, and tried to cover up the entire debacle. When God’s prophet Nathan confronted him (a biblical version of prosecuting attorney Starr?), David confessed that he had done wrong but his confession had a different ring to it than the one we heard from the U.S. president. It is found in Psalm 51 and includes these words: “Against you (God), you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. . . . Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. . . . Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. . . . Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. . . .”
God did restore David. He even brought good from that sinful relationship. David married this woman and a child was born. From this child, another and another until eventually two people in the line of David became the parents of Jesus Christ.
Never underestimate the power of God. He may choose to take opposition or even evil and use it for good. We simply need to cooperate, confessing our sins and hopeless inadequacy – and trust Him.