“From Curse To Blessing”
God is incredible. If there was ever an understatement, this would be one! Even with the frustration of explaining how great God is, we ought to never lose sight of the fact that He is really, really incredible. He has proven time and again that His abilities are profound and furthermore, that His grace is immense. Late in the powerful book of Nehemiah, the author records the following simple statement that should ring true for every person who sets out to follow our God: "Our God turned the curse into a blessing" (Nehemiah 13:2).
Time fails in this short article to fully summarize the events that were going on in the time of men like Nehemiah. The reader is encouraged to not only read this section of Nehemiah, but to also consider the story of Balaam in the book of Numbers that this text is referencing. What is possible in this short article is the ability to acknowledge this great truth about our incredible God -- He is able to turn curses into blessings. As saints, we should understand this to be vitally important and worthy of some valuable observations.
First, God has never promised that life would be "curse-less." The fact is, life is sometimes really rough. But, we must remember that life on earth is not so much about life on earth but rather in doing the will of God so that eternal life is gained. Remember that Peter twice referred to Christians like us as "pilgrims" who were, as we often sing, "just a passing through" (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11). Keeping this perspective helps us see the bad things in life a little differently.
Secondly, one of the greatest things that Christians can do when we are faced with problems is to take the time to go to God and thank Him for the challenge. We know without any doubt that God allows us to go through challenges and rather than resenting God or getting angry with Him, maturing Christians thank Him. The great apostle Paul was not thrilled with his "thorn in the flesh" and asked for it to be removed three times. The answer was no (three times) and the apostle's reaction was to thank God and, "take pleasure" in the weaknesses that would eventually make him stronger (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Finally, Christians will do well to remember the central message of the inspired writer's statement in the Nehemiah text. God can make GREAT things happen even when dealing with tough things. As Christians mature, they're able to reflect on their pasts and consider all the times when something didn't quite go the way they wanted. Naturally, they were saddened, disappointed, even discouraged, Yet, as time progressed, those same servants were able to look back and appreciate how God took a tough situation and made something great come of it. That's God for you! He's incredible and we should be thankful for the kindness and grace He has consistently shown to His children.