Turning Negatives into Positives

By: Jill Briscoe

Along with four other women, Elisabeth waited by a shortwave radio for what must have seemed like an eternity, listening for a message from their husbands, who had taken a flight into hostile Indian territory. 

The young couples had been trying to reach the Auca Indians in Ecuador with the gospel. When no message was received, a search party was sent out after the men, and eventually the dreadful truth was discovered. The young missionaries were found lying facedown in the river, killed by the poisoned lances of the Indians. 

This terrible happening had not been on Elisabeth’s agenda! She and her husband, Jim, had been looking forward to a missionary career together. Now her whole world had crashed around her. 

Elisabeth discovered she had a choice. She could resign herself to the situation and return home with her young daughter, or she could ask the Lord, “In what redemptive way can you use this?”

Elisabeth chose to trust God to do something positive with the negatives. And she decided to be part of the action. She and her young daughter and Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) bravely set off into the jungle and found the tribe that had killed Nate and Jim. The women were well received and allowed to make their home among the Indians. After the Bible was translated and the gospel shared, many in the tribe turned to Christ. Later, Nate and Marge Saint’s daughter, Kathie, was baptized in the river where her daddy had died. Truly God used that particular situation in a redemptive way. God wants to buy up the opportunities that come our way as we learn to trust Him and to use trouble as a springboard for action. 

Trusting God brings a certain element of hope to our hearts—a confident expectation that all is not lost and that there is something redeemable in the most awful situation. This trust is a tenacious, spiritual insistence that God can be trusted not only to be totally and thoroughly aware of our dilemmas, but also to be in control and already taking eternal measures to work out His ultimate purposes.

“But,” you may ask, “what are we supposed to trust God to do for us?” To right the wrong? To reverse a disease? To bring our loved ones back from the dead or an unfaithful spouse home again? Sometimes God does the unbelievable, but other times He doesn’t. There are, however, certain things we can bank on Him doing. 

Dare to trust God that He can redeem any difficult circumstances in your life. He will.  

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.