Genesis 50:20, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:28, Luke 7:47
Cleland Thom on how God uses your past to train you for an exciting destiny.
What does God's training programme look like? Here's how it worked out for Moses.
He was abandoned by his family and then raised by Pharaoh's daughter in an environment polluted by sexual immorality and the occult. He was taught godless wisdom and worshipped the sun god.
His adopted grandfather, Pharaoh Ahmosis, was a dangerous despot who committed genocide by murdering hundreds of Hebrew babies.
He was probably more despicable than any tyrant on earth today. I wouldn't have left my baby with his daughter. Social services might have something to say.
But Moses was safe in the hands of the one true God, who used his ungodly upbringing to prepare him for his destiny.
Christian training emphasises courses, teachers, and diplomas. And I'm all for them. Our churches would be poorer without them.
But God's training programme can be unconventional, painful and difficult to figure out.
He designed yours before you were born (Ephesians 2:10). He knew what your calling would look like and will use everything you've been through to equip you for your unique kingdom mission.
Everything? Yes. Even your parents' divorce. The wrong relationships that ended badly. The bullying. Your sexuality. The abuse. The failures. He can use them all (Romans 8:28).
In fact, sometimes, His call is greater for those who have suffered the most (Luke 7:47).
Of course, God never wanted the bad stuff to happen to us. And sadly, He can't change it. But He is the only one who can heal us, restore us and bring the very best out of our imperfect life experiences.
He did it with me. I was raised in a family that was steeped in Spiritism. I was sexually abused. I got into really bad stuff as a teenager and sold my soul to the devil. I was on the brink of suicide several times and was a physical and mental write-off by the time I was 25.
Satan wanted to destroy me. But since then, God has used those bad years as my training programme. He'll do the same for you.
I'm not saying it's easy. You must make the difficult transition from victim to victor. That takes time, and you won't manage it on your own.
You must also play your part, like Moses did. God isn't like Pharaoh. He gives you the freedom to quit His training. You have to make choices.
But if you had a bad or difficult upbringing, ask Jesus to show you how He can use it to prepare you for your calling. You might find you're on the training programme already.
If you stick with it, you will become like Moses. You'll do miracles. You will speak to God as a friend, and lead others out of captivity.
And you might even do better than Moses, and inherit God's Promised Land, rather than glimpse at it from a long way off.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.