God will use thisWho hasn’t heard the term “Life is the pits”? Seems like most of us have heard it at one time or another from a friend going through some really rough times, or perhaps we used it ourselves when it seemed like the bottom of the pit was a long way up from where we were. Max Lucado’s book God Will Use This For Good  takes that literally.

Recently released on September 10, 2013 in the eBook version, and at the end of September in paperback, Max’s book works with the life of Joseph son of Jacob, and revolves around a teaching on not only how God is capable of using all that we go through to do good things in our life, but also lends itself to a glimpse of what is happening when bad things happen to good people. Is it a good thing when we lose a loved one, or when we lose our job, our house or seem to have no way out of ‘The Pits’? Of course not, and Max points that out.

A synopsis for those not aware of the story of Joseph. His ascent to the pinnacle of being the vizier, or adviser, to the Egyptian Pharaoh began in a pit, a pit his half-brothers threw Joseph into. From that point Joseph was sold into slavery, became the head of Potiphars servants, and was then thrown into prison for rejecting the amorous desires of Potiphar’s wife.

After spending two years in prison, Joseph was taken to Pharaoh to interpret a dream no other adviser to the king was able to. Pharaoh was impressed enough with Joseph’s interpretation of the dream that Joseph was placed in charge of executing the plan to weather the famine he had predicted. Can we all guess that it worked out? It did.

The book Max Lucado wrote is based on a scripture from the Old Testament; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” —Genesis 50:20 NIV

That verse is mirrored in the New Testament with: “Or that all things work together for good to those who love God, who; or that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good “–Romans 8:28 NIV

The scriptures Max uses showcase the objective of getting through whatever the tough times happen to be in our lives. Is it possible the hard times last longer than we do? Maybe, Max mentions that possibility in a video interview for Crosswalk.com in relation to God Will Use this Mess For Good.

Without trying to get all preachy about solutions, is it possible that the Author of all creation is simply trying to get in touch with us? Is it possible that He simply would like for us to communicate with Him? Another term for that would be prayer, and yet that isn’t meant to be a call to memorize a litany of quasi-religious phrases. It is nothing more than, and nothing less than, a call to get back in touch with the Father who cares about our every thought, every action, and every hair on our head!
If we can’t be bothered to take the time to call on Him, why would we expect Him to answer? The Father always has us on His mind, it doesn’t seem like it should be thought of as a huge burden to give Him a few minutes every day.

Max’s words of encouragement bring a sense of hope to what can otherwise seem a rather bleak period of time. The recurring theme throughout the book is “you’ll get through this”.
Max says it over and over, it may not be painless, and it may not be quick,
“but God will use your mess for good”

The exhortation seems to make sense when all the aspects of the book are put together. All in all a good read for those going through a difficult period, and even for those who aren’t. Perhaps especially for those who aren’t “in the pit” yet, this book would work well. Does being prepared for what is possible seem a better option than scrambling around looking for an answer when we’re in the middle of a disaster?
Max Lucado has the benefit of being not just a gifted writer, he also seems to have a good focus on staying close to scripture in his writings. Max also brings a sense of real life experience to the process when he speaks about what Joseph went through, and then offers some simple suggestions on how to put in place a plan for when tough times hit us.
Max suggests we: “Remember God is in this crisis. (with us) Ask Him to give you an index-card sized plan, two or three steps you can take today”
Reading that, it made so much sense, I wondered why it hadn’t already occurred to me. Is it just easier to ask for a total solution and go on with the rest of the day’s chores?
And therein is what I liked about Max Lucado’s latest book, it has an easy reading style and it ends with a call to redemption, and salvation through Christ. How different would the world be if only 10% of the books written or the movies made in Hollywood ended with a call to salvation?

– Garry Swaffar