By Betsy Bolt

This summer I was digging through my closet and found
it. “It” is a giant plastic back brace that I had to wear during my freshman year of high school. I had to wear it because I have scoliosis. By the way, scoliosis isn’t as bad as it sounds. It just means my spine is shaped like an “S” instead of a straight line. But what this did mean is that I had to wear this big old nasty back brace during high school to prevent the curvature in my spine from getting worse. Anyway, I found that brace this summer. And I decided to try it on again.

It was painful not only because my 20-year-old body is a lot different than my 13-year-old body, but also because of the memories that resurfaced.

Remembering how I would sitting in class and not be able to focus because of the unbearable itch under my brace that couldn’t reach.  

Remembering how my brace was not only visible through all my clothes but also tore holes in everything I owned.

Remembering how dang hot that thing was in the summer.

Remembering how (as a high school freshman girl) all that mattered was fitting in and being normal.  And believe that because of this brace and scoliosis, that wasn’t me.

Like a lot of things in life, that was not a real fun time. But it made me strong. It made me brave. It made me persevere. It made me so much more compassionate. It made me have cool conversations and do crazy things (like climbing a mountain, in a back brace…it was the worst)

Life is hard. We live in a sinful world. For me, I live in a world where spines aren’t as they should be, brains have chemical imbalances, hearts are broken, friends die, and evil seems so overwhelmingly prevalent. However, our God is the One who redeems.

I am reminded of the story of Joseph and how God took something so evil and turned it into something so magnificent that ended up saving an entire ethnic population. Genesis 50:20 reads: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

I have no idea if God will use my story to save lives (that’d be cool, but only he knows). However, I do know that God has redeemed me and will continue to do so. My life is all about bringing Him glory; thus, I can be confident that what He turns into good will glorify to Him and not me.  

In this way, I’m confident that we can rejoice in suffering, like the Apostle Paul said. Even though we undergo pain and suffering in this world, God loves to redeem for our good and his glory.

So we can continue to joyfully let God redeem us. Whatever battle we may be facing, we have confidence and hope.  We remember that God is good and faithful, and he has and will always continue to redeem.  

Betsy, thank you.  What an encouraging testimony pointing to our Redeemer.  Jesus truly redeems us in so many ways.  Isaiah 61:1-3 scratches at some of the breadth of God’s redemption in our lives and in this world:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashesthe oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Would we be such oaks of righteousness planted in the the Lord’s redeeming work for all to see his splendor and glory in this generation and for generations to come!  Lord, hear our prayer.  

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