I read this article today in Cracked: 5 Screw-ups on the Battlefield that Accidentally won the War. It’s fascinating, really. (Warning: the article does have profanity and some crude references.) For example, we always hear what a horrific thing Pearl Harbor was, and it was, but it was also a mercy. It could have been so much worse had we gotten the message that the attack was coming. Hard to believe, but it’s true. The US received a warning about the attack in time to do something about it, but didn’t translate it until the day after the attack. That sounds like a pretty big screw up. However, it saved hundreds of thousands of lives for us to be caught unprepared.
Or what about the British Lord Louis Mountbatten who launched his own surprise invasion of France (so surprise he didn’t even bother to tell his own superiors about it) that failed miserably? He lost over 75% of his men in a disastrous call. Sounds like failure. It was. BUT, it turned out for good. His failed attempt gave the Allied generals important information about how to do things right the next time. His was the cautionary tale they learned from. He did lose a lot of men, but not nearly as many as would have been lost at Normandy if they hadn’t been able to learn from his example. In fact, “after the war, many military commanders remarked at the importance of the Dieppe invasion toward the victory at D-Day, with Winston Churchill himself saying that Dieppe was “an indispensable preliminary to full-scale operations.”
You can read the article. They list FIVE of these “screw-ups”, utter failures that turned out to be absolute blessings in the end. If that isn’t God…
It’s one of my favorite qualities about God, the way He can turn things around. I heard someone say that He’s the “God of instead”—referencing Isaiah 61 and all the “insteads” God comes to bring.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:1-3 (emphasis added)
I was thinking about Joseph this morning, praying that I would have a heart that would trust in the God of instead, that I would be able to say as Joseph said, that everything the enemy intended for his harm, God used instead for his good. (Genesis 50:20) God gave Joseph a promise for his future, a promise that he would reign. But the enemy tried to steal his inheritance. Joseph was nearly killed, sold into slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned. Doesn’t sound like God’s working out his promises. Sounds like a lot of failures. The thing is, God used those horrible things in Joseph’s life to position him perfectly. It was in prison that he met the King’s advisors and it was because of prison he was able to have an audience with the King when the King needed help. He was promoted from prison to a position of authority over all the land, second only to the King, in an instant.
God turned all the negatives around, all the pain, all the attacks, lies, accusations… everything that was meant to keep him down, keep him from achieving his spiritual destiny and receiving the promise of God… God did more than just switch things out though. He did more than simply reverse the course of Joseph’s life. He actually USED all those things for Joseph’s good. They weren’t negated, they were the fuel God used for Joseph’s growth and promotion.
Graham Cooke once said that whenever God allows us to see a negative(s) over a person or situation, it isn’t to criticize or get discouraged, it’s to pray for the positive, the instead. So what are the negatives in your life? What are the things that have you down and discouraged? Start praying for the insteads and get encouraged. Our God is able to do more than you can imagine!