For Every Divine Removal…I Thank Him

Some of you on here either heard or saw clips from my message, “Thank God For The Losses,” preached at Friday Night Fire on March 26th of this year. What many do not know is the story behind that message – or should I say, stories – where God gave me powerful insight into His presence in our losses. In Job 1:21, Job proclaims: “And said, Naked (without possessions) came I [into this world] from my mother’s womb, and naked (without possessions) shall I depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed (praised and magnified in worship) be the name of the Lord!” (AMP) This proclamation came after Job had perhaps the worst experiences of his life, including some of the most painful and unimaginable losses possible. Do we consider what a powerful statement Job made? Job recognized God in his losses, and that no matter what happened, God was to be praised. Job knew the power of praising God and seeing God in his loss. Where are we on this?

Modern theories ascribe gain to God and loss to the devil. We think we always need more and bigger – more money, more followers, more friends, more people around, bigger houses, bigger cars, etc. We forget God can be in a situation of loss just as much as He can be in a substantial gain. In our pursuit for more, we don’t always realize the impact of who and what is around us. It’s true to say a person or thing may be yet another tally for a member of the modern-day First Church of More; however, it’s also true to say that same person or thing could be standing in the way of our spiritual progress.

For many years I bought into the concept that in order to be in ministry, I had to have more: more people, more friends, more contacts, more money, more things, more preaching engagements, more things, and so on. I was consumed with the idea of being liked and having a desirable ministry that people would come unto. I was devastated by the many losses that seemed more prevalent than the gains in my life. It was hard to watch family, friends, and even associates turn aside because they did not understand the place God was taking me to in ministry. For many years I concerned myself, to the point of tallying losses against gains, to try and figure out what God was doing in all these different situations.

It wasn’t until I first got the idea for “Thank God for the Losses” about three years ago – and those words actually came from my mouth – that I came to understand the precept of God in the face of loss. The idea came when I was speaking with someone – who would later become a loss of sorts. I encouraged her to “thank God for the losses” in the face of a disappointing circumstance and what she perceived to be disappointing people. When it came out of my mouth, I realized what I said spoke great truth – we need to see God sending us messages through loss as much as through gain, and sometimes more so. We need to be able to bless God through loss just as much as we do in our gain. Despite my best efforts to reach out to her on multiple occasions, I was unable to remain in contact with her. I considered her to be a true friend, only to find out she talked a different story about me and my assistance to her behind my back.

And I can now say, for this divine removal, I thank God for my losses.

At the beginning of 2010, God spoke to me: “It’s time to clean up. Get ready for a clean sweep!” I had no idea what God was talking about. I thought God was telling me to clean my apartment, which I did do. I had no idea God was talking about people and their influences. Not long after God told me this, there was the so-called “apostle” who declared himself to be my covering when I never agreed for him to be. I was put on his website as holding a position in his organization – which I never agreed to and was not comfortable with. I tried to be polite and patient, but that didn’t become an option for very long. I had to confront and address, and I never even received a response.

And now I can say, for this divine removal, I thank God for my losses.

Then there was the unjust dismissal and betrayal from the woman who was supposed to cover my ministry. We went from a perfectly lovely phone call, to an awkward and confusing silence without a word in less than three days’ time. I went from being a sister, daughter in the ministry, and friend to being compared to Judas without a word, an argument, or a change in our relationship or interaction. As I lived with the aftermath of her betrayal, I came to sit back and realize all she’d said to me in the wake of her betrayal. I realized that, while she believed God was going to progressively “kill” me from her life, it wasn’t God Who removed me from her…it was God removing her from me. I didn’t know it then, but God was moving me to a new place of power in the ministry, and such a person who was already jealous and angry about the ministry progress would hamper and thwart where He was and is ready to take me. She might have thought she removed me, but God, in actuality, removed her.

And now I can say, for this divine removal, I thank God for my losses.

Then there was the conference I was told I would not attend when the host became greedy and bullying, trying to extort money from the work of God for her own personal gain. When I first tried to meet her demands, she came back with yet more, proving her own need for greed. When I would not meet them, she decided she’d “changed her mind” about having me do training and be a speaker. That’s fine.

And now I can say, for this divine removal, I thank God for my losses.

Then there was the young man who felt the right to make a public statement using his Facebook status toward a personal correspondence I sent to him instead of directing me in an appropriate and Biblical manner. I could see the Lord’s cautioning me against participation in what he was doing to be more than just a situation of business or purpose, but one avoiding the spirit of control and manipulation. I’ve dealt with that spirit all my life and I refuse to let any human being manipulate me into their concept of ministry versus God’s concept of ministry. God knows what He’s doing, and knows His caution. I praise God that I have learned to listen to His voice, and obey His Word.

And now I can say, for this divine removal, I thank God for my losses.

Over the years, there have been so many divine clean-ups: my relatives who disapproved of my ministry; fellow friends and churchgoers who simply did not understand; my former priest who went on to be arrested for possessing child pornography on his computer; the first pastor I ever sat under, who told me I would be better suited to go to another church; the young men I dated at one time or another, who simply weren’t right for me; and the list can go on and on and on.

So much about the Christian walk is being in God’s right time, in His right place, and walking with the people He has appointed for His purpose. As God continues to develop in us and direct us as He would have us go, we don’t always find ourselves in comfortable situations. We aren’t always on terms we understand or that others understand. When confronted with God’s progress, God also is often cleaning up every circumstance so the way can be made as we walk and progress into His right time, place, and people. When others become jealous, envious, angry, or betraying, we recognize the obstacle sent into our lives. It is hardest when these people were our friends and loved ones, who at one time walked with us but are now unable to accompany due to our new season. Then, one day, God cleans house, removing them from our path and we see how far we’ve come just by trusting Him.

In a world of inconsistencies and changeable people, I am glad that God remains our eternal constant, never removed, even in the face of divine removals.

And now I can say, for every situation and past person whom God has removed…I thank God for the losses.

(C) 2010 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.

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