I can't remember how I came across this old book, but it has been a great blessing packed with short bite size nuggets of encouragement taken from every day things.
The author, Norah Freed, was born in Surrey into a large family (7 siblings!). She came to faith in Christ after she moved to Belfast aged 16, and in 1928, after completing a course at a Bible school in Birkenhead she sailed off to Morocco to serve in Tangier as a midwife missionary. She ministered to the Arabic speaking people until 1960, in which time she had become a scholar in Arabic and put those skills to great use by translating a whole Christian hymnbook.
At the age of 54, life completely changed as she married Ralph Freed, who was the general of Trans World Radio, his son was the founder. TWR was still developing in those early days, and it was 'All hands on deck' as different family members pulled together to make the project work, Norah include! She went from midwife to radio broadcaster, as she became responsible for presenting a new programme that was to be hit, with 1,682 'episodes' of 'Woman to Woman' running from 1964 to 1995. She personally replied to the thousands of letters she received over the 31 years of the show, and wrote 3 books in between.
Be blessed and encouraged by this lovely short reading from Mrs Norah Freed out of one of her three books, Bible Calling
BUT GOD.......(Genesis 50:20)
It was a letter that took my mind off the job that I was doing and made me think of the story of Joseph. The writer was a mother who suddenly found herself plunged into one of those dark tunnels through which Christians sometimes pass. Until that day, hers had been a happy home with the Lord at its head. But that cruel blow struck without warning and she was engulfed in great sorrow. It has been a long tunnel for her, and the end is not yet in sight. But, oh, how struck I was by her undaunted trust and faith in God in the midst of such trying circumstances. She commits each day to the Lord and has proved that He never fails her and He enables her to face life with Him. Looking to the future, she said, "I dreaded....but God..." That is what made the difference. "But God...." Even with a sore heart she is learning to live in the realm of the supernatural.
There was another who found great comfort in those two words and was able to use them as he looked back on a difficult way. In the book of Genesis, chapter 50 and verse 20, you find Joseph facing those of his own family who had been the cause of all his trouble and saying to them, "As for you, Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."
What a triumph that was. Joseph, the owner of the coat of many colours, the loved son of his parents, sent of an errand to his brothers, never returned, but at their cruel hands was thrown into a pit. Afterwards he was sold to some passing traders and later unjustly accused and cast into prison and forgotten of men. Surely that was enough to make anyone feel there was no hope of deliverance.
In most people it would have stirred up a desire for revenge and vindication, but Joseph committed it all to God and was prepared to wait His time. Faithful even in prison, his attitude brought him some recognition and he was given the custody of two prisoners whom Pharoah had put there. He cared for them, and just there he was used of God to interpret their dreams which eventually were used towards his release. There was God using circumstances that seemed so trivial. Just a dream that bothered these men. Ah, but the Lord was with Joseph and was causing all things to work together for good. God had other plans for him and here they were being fulfilled through a stay in prison!
What a tremendous vindication God gave to him. He was ultimately freed, given a place of honour and trust, and became a succourer of many, even of those who had treated him so badly. Yes, he looks back and with love in his heart for those brothers he says, "Don't be afraid. You thought evil against me, BUT GOD deemed otherwise, He meant it unto good."
Is there a sorely tried woman reading just now? You are puzzled by the things that have been happening to you? You have felt the lash of a cruel tongue opened against you unjustly? You have known the feeling of utter helplessness when others have turned against you out of sheer jealousy? Your heart is sore because it has been let down by those you loved and trusted? Maybe the language of your heart just now as you sit and survey your life is "All these things are against me". There seems to be no answer and no end in sight and you long for understanding. Everything has got on top of you and you feel you cannot stand any longer being shunned and misjudged.
Is it possible that you have wrapped yourself up in a garment of self-pity because you have been so hurt; that you have missed the greatest blessing the Lord wanted to bring into your life through these very circumstances? Look how fruitful Joseph became because he let God engineer his circumstances for him, and gave the reply to those who had hurt him. All the way along it was, "But God."
Why don't you today commit your cause to Him and let Him bring blessing out of adversity for you? You know when we tough things ourselves and try to work out a solution that will justify us, we make a mess of it, but Gods vindications are worth waiting for. He will do the exceeding abundant for you and those things that are pricks and thorns today cannot harm you if you will hand them over to the Lord. Instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle!
Here's a great reading (from today..) out of Spurgeon's daily devotional that ties in perfectly with this message.....
"He led them forth by the right way."—Psalm 107:7.
Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved.
Lord, thou dost hide Thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress.
Is this part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter.
These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "so He bringeth them to their desired haven." By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way.
Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
"O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee."
Charles Spurgeon's Daily Devotional