It’s not if you’re going through hard times, honey, it’s HOW you’re going through hard times. Will you worry your way through this? Will you be a ball of anxiety, overwhelmed in the emotions of a tough situation? Will you become bitter, hardened, jaded and cynical? Or will you stand strong in your faith and trust God to guide you right through this?
What you don’t see while you’re going through the hardship, is the blessing on the other side. It won’t be meaningless. It won’t all be for nothing. There’s a special provision aligned for you when you decide you’re going to face this with the courage and strength God gives you.
Within your Bible is a story about 2 women named Shiphrah and Puah. Do you know their story? Who are they? What did they do, and why are they so important that their names would be included in God’s word? These women were midwives to the Hebrew women and their babies. In their culture, to be a midwife typically meant you were single and barren. They didn’t have families of their own. There was a brokenness and longing within them to have what they were watching others have all day long. It was their hands that delivered blessings to other women, but these were blessings they couldn’t have for themselves.
Do you ever feel that way? Like everyone else has what you are left only wanting? Like life has been so unfair to you while you have tried to remain faithful? Gosh, life isn’t always fair. Things happen we don’t understand. I can’t tell you why, or make you feel any better about what you may be longing for and still not have, but I can share the story of Shiprah and Puah, two women who were longing for what they still didn’t have, yet they remained faithful in a bad situation and God rewarded them.
Is there a reward for you in this bad situation? Think about that. What if God is aligning a blessing for you when you go through this with the courage and strength he gives you. What if it really will be worth it? And what if you’re about to give up on it all before you see it unfold?
Shiphrah and Puah were Hebrew midwives living under the oppression of the Egyptians. Egypt had taken the Hebrews captive, making them their slaves, yet their people continued to increase and flourish. Fearing their rise in strength and power, Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, decided to cut them off at their source. He would kill all their baby boys. If the next generation were only girls, he would stop their increase, break their spirit, and completely defeat them.
Exodus 1: 15-21, “The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”
Were the Hebrew women really supernaturally strong with their Pilates and shooting baby boys out so fast the midwives couldn’t even catch them? No, of course not. Could these two midwives who were barren and single and carrying the weight of their own sadness and hardship have been killed for what they did to protect the baby boys? Absolutely!
It would have been easy for them to be bitter. Afterall, they didn’t have babies of their own. Why should they risk their lives for women who were being blessed with what they couldn’t have themselves. But here’s what they didn’t know in the middle of their terrible circumstances … blessings were on the other side of this for their faithfulness.
What was on the other side of protecting what they couldn’t even have for themselves, out of obedience to God? The blessing of a family of their own! Yes, the thing they could never have before!
“Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”
You know what would have blocked them from this blessing? Bitterness.
You know what will block you from your blessing? Bitterness.
The story you tell yourself of how unfair it is will become a roadblock to the good plans God has for you that reach far beyond your current circumstances. God is just looking for the girls who will refuse bitterness when bitterness would be completely justified. He’s looking for the girls who can’t have babies of their own, but will put their lives on the line to protect the babies of others. He’s looking for the girls who don’t have a husband, but will champion their friends and their marriages. He’s looking for the girls who are going through their own extraordinary battle, but will pray fervently over the battles of others. He’s looking for the ones who struggle to pay their rent, but will be happy for their sister and her new car and vacation. He’s looking for the girls who are walking through the fire, but still believe God is good.
And whew, when God finds those girls, the blessings he can give them as a reward for the way they carried their burden and went through their hardship … well, it’s the good stuff we couldn’t even dream up!
Also know this, the enemy of your soul is looking for every open wound you have to pick and poke at it. His plan is to make you bitter for what you don’t have to the point that you miss what you can do.
Think about the big picture role these two barren, single midwives played. If it weren’t for them, Moses would have been killed as a baby. If it weren’t for them, the Hebrew Israelites would have never had a leader to take them out of captivity in Egypt. If it weren’t for them, there would be no miraculous parting of the Red Sea. If it weren’t for them, there would be no manna raining down from Heaven in the wilderness. If it weren’t for them, the next generation of Hebrew boys would have never existed. And without that generation, the divine lineage would be broken and we wouldn’t have Jesus. All of this led to Jesus!
But first there were two women in a hard situation who had every right to be bitter. Yet, they refused bitterness, and as a result, played a role in saving their people, changing the world, and then they received their own blessing of a family.
Where has the enemy been offering you bitterness? Where have you been hurt, been jipped, been done wrong, and you have every right to become angry and jaded over it? This is where God wants to do his greatest work in you and for you. The question is, what CAN you do where you are, even when where you are isn’t where you would have chosen?
I’ve found this to be true every single time … when you faithfully do what you can with what you have where you are, God will do what only he can do. But when you grow bitter and wallow in the misery of your unfair situation, you forfeit what God could do through you and for you.
If two barren and single women can be used to save the next generation, then receive the blessing of a family of their own, what could you do with your seemingly unfair situation and what blessing could await you on the other side? What bigger picture could you play a role in if you seek to fulfill your part in God’s good plans?
It’s not if you’re going through hard times, honey, it’s HOW you’re going through hard times. Will you worry your way through this? Will you be a ball of anxiety, overwhelmed in the emotions of a tough situation? Will you become bitter, hardened, jaded and cynical? Or will you stand strong in your faith and trust God to guide you right through this and use you as part of something so much greater? Will you do what you can here while God does what only he can next?