Growing up I remember loving the original 'Karate Kid' movie. Like most young kids at the time, seeing an awkward kid learn from Mr Miyagi how to fight against bullies and overcome their attacks led me to want to try my own 'crane kick' in my backyard.
One form of martial arts that I have always found a little interesting is judo. From my limited understanding, one of the main principles of judo is you use the momentum of your attacker against them to flip them onto the ground. By using the other person's momentum, even a little person could overcome the attack of a larger person through a simple flip.
It is this technique, of using the momentum of an enemy against them, that makes me believe that God must be a master at judo. For He seems to continually use the attacks of the enemy by 'flipping' them so they begin to work for our advantage. One such example of this principle is seen in the life of Joseph, the favourite son of Jacob.
At the age of 17, Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, then imprisoned for essentially NOT sleeping with his boss' wife where he was left in prison to rot. It would have been easy to think that the enemy was succeeding in ruining this young man's life.
Until God flips it.
While in prison Joseph interpreted a fellow prisoner's dream. So when the Pharaoh of Egypt needed his dream interpreted, this same man remembered Joseph and recommended that Pharaoh seek his opinion. Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh's dream (seven years of great harvest followed by seven years of drought) which led to him becoming the prime minster of Egypt. A position that allowed him to save not only Egypt and the surrounding nations, but his own family - the same family that initially sold him into slavery.
And when Joseph met with his brothers he explained God's 'judo flip' to them in Genesis 50:20, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." God used the enemy's attack to put Joseph where he needed to be to save the countless lives of others.
But God did not only do this for Joseph. He is continually using the attacks of the enemy, other people's sin and even our sin, to work it towards something beautiful by flipping it towards our advantage.
Romans 8:28-29 tells us that God uses ALL things, not just the good things in life, but ALL things for our good. Our good being, that we are conformed into the image of Jesus. This means that even, sometime especially, in the difficult trials and dark times of life we get to know Jesus in deeper ways than we thought possible. We learn what it really means to live by faith in Him, to trust Him and experience His life in us to the point where our thinking and behaviour begins to match His.
So the next time you are feeling discouraged or under attack, watch for God's flip and see how He will redeem your present circumstances for your good.
In Christ who is our Life,