At the beginning of 2017, I created a reading list consisting of 18 books I wanted to read throughout the year. So far I have added 4 books to that list making it 22 total. I’ve read about 9 of them.
One of the books I added is called Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty. I came across this book in one of the Devotionals Daily I receive in my inbox. The minute I read this book, I fell in love with it. This book has brought about change in my perspective on how I view circumstances past, present and I hope how I will view them in the future.
The book is based on the verse found in Proverbs 27:7, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” I have read this verse before but goodness I have never read it like that. To a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. Every bitter thing is sweet. Wow.
Throughout the book she highlights with complete transparency how every thing she encounters in life that is bitter to her offers her a chance to grow closer to God. If we are in constant hunger for the things of God; If we are constantly hungering for his presence, his touch than every bitter thing we encounter is a chance for us to experience God in a new way. Whether that bitterness comes from the loss of a family member, a job, a bad review, loss of possession, etc. Every bitter thing is sweet.
One of the devotionals I read this summer highlighted the story of Paul & Silas found in Acts 16: 16-40. The Spirit of God had led them to Philippi to preach the gospel, where after just two interactions with the locals, they were accused of damaging property then were mobbed, beaten, and thrown into jail. As they were filled with pain and confusion, they began to sing in the jail cell:
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
What stuck out to me in this passage is how Paul and Silas were in PRISON but they were still singing and praising God. Paul knew and understood what I am just learning: everything we go through is a chance for us to grow closer to God.
For the past 8 summers, I have had the privilege of walking and serving alongside God’s children in Belize. I’ve walked into places I never imagined my feet would go. I’ve seen things I never in my life thought I would witness. Souls have been saved, wounds have been healed, eyes have literally been opened. It has been the sweetest time in my life and an unbelievably humbling experience.
Now, God is calling me out. He is calling me into a time of Bittersweet. Although I will still be working alongside my brothers and sisters in Praying Pelican, I won’t be in my second home. I may still visit on occasion but my time in Belize is coming to an end. This change comes with many tears shed (I can’t believe my eyes haven’t run out yet!) and many questions currently unanswered. This change feels bitter to me. But I am excited for the sweetness to come. God has something for me and for Nate. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know when I will find out. But as it says in Psalm 27: 13-14,
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
God is good. He is faithful.
As my family and friends, right now I am asking for your prayers. Pray for a smooth transition for me. Pray for my heart that is currently breaking and may be broken for awhile. Pray for Nate and I as we seek God’s heart not knowing fully what’s ahead. We are hungry for God and anticipating his sweetness.