Can I Believe God is Working for My Good Even When Things Aren’t So Good? With Kelly Minter [Episode 153]

Believe God Good Things Aren't Good

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the Bible study book Finding God Faithful: A Study on the Life of Joseph by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

In the middle of hardship and frustration, it can be difficult to see God at work. How do you hold on to your faith when things keep going wrong? How do you trust God is working all things for good when it just feels bad?

On today’s 4:13 Podcast, author Kelly Minter assures us that God’s sovereignty reigns even in our darkest moments. She shares some practical, biblical ways to navigate through dark times when you question if God is faithful.

Kelly is a singer, songwriter, and Bible teacher. When she’s not on the road speaking, she loves picking homegrown veggies with her six nieces and nephews or riding a boat along the Amazon River with Justice & Mercy International. She has written four books and six Bible studies, including the one we talk about today, Finding God Faithful.

Sister, this conversation will help you see that God’s provision is enough, His presence is constant, and His purpose is unstoppable. So let the encouragement begin…

Jennifer’s Highlights and Take-Aways

God is still faithful even when life isn’t easy or good, but we might find ourselves wrestling with this truth in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Kelly described that the most consistent area of her life where she grapples with God’s faithfulness is being obedient to Him when she would rather do something else.

“Sometimes we obey in great joy,” she said. “Other times obedience is difficult.”

Kelly began as a singer-songwriter and had a record deal. “But…” as she explained, “The Lord shut it down.” She was disappointed that her music career didn’t turn out how she wanted, but it was through this disappointment that she ended up in the Amazon.

Apart from her music, the president of the record label invited her to the Amazon Jungle to minister to the people in that area.

Her ministry in the Amazon only came after wrestling with obedience, and she recognizes it was God’s grace that enabled her to obey.

Now Kelly says she wouldn’t have traded being in the Amazon for any musical success—she would have missed this opportunity if she followed her own way.

What a great lesson for us: Don’t let disappointment be an excuse for disobedience!

In seeking to obey, she asks herself, “Will I solve this in my own strength, strive for my way, or submit to the authority of the Word and Christ?”

I told her she didn’t even realize she was alliterating … Solve? Strive? Or Submit? Bam! That’ll preach!

But friends, it’s important to understand that the faithfulness of God doesn’t just show up when we get what we want. Sometimes His faithfulness shows up in ways we don’t want or expect.

Take the story of the Old Testament character, Joseph, for example.

Joseph had to leave the place where God’s presence dwelt and was sold into slavery in a foreign land. On the surface, it looked like God lost control of Joseph’s story, but Genesis 39:2 says, “the Lord was with Joseph.” God caravaned with him. Even though Joseph was faithful to God, he was enslaved and imprisoned. But God was with him.

Kelly described how nothing went as Joseph expected, yet God was faithful. And it was through Joseph’s hardship that God worked out His plan for the generations to come.

It can feel like everything happens for the worse and not for the better. But like Joseph’s rough journey and Kelly’s lost record deal, we don’t know the end of the story. Yet we can trust the character of God and know that He is faithful.

So what can we do when we are tired of being faithful or are questioning God’s faithfulness?

Kelly suggests we get into the Word; get into the narrative of the Word. Go back to stories of Israel’s history and see God’s faithfulness even when His people weren’t being faithful to Him.

You’ll find yourself in the stories of those who came before us, like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and David. They too faced disappointments and fought frustration, and we can all relate to these kinds of struggles.

Scripture shows us that we’re not the only ones who experience disappointment, and we can gain encouragement from those who felt the same as we read what God did in their lives.

These examples show us over and over that we can trust the character of God more than we trust what we see because our stories aren’t finished yet.

Kelly said, “We want the kindness of the Lord to remove our hardship, but more than likely He will show us His kindness in the middle of it. But we have to be willing to see it.”

Sometimes we are so focused on God getting us out of our situation, and that’s the only form of His kindness we are willing to see. But we need to open our minds to accept all the ways that God’s kindness can show up in our stories.

Kelly ended our conversation by sharing that she wants to not just focus on the ways she may be hurting or suffering, but instead ask herself, “What are ways I can push out and look at the needs of others?”

And when you focus on others and carry someone else’s burden, it’s surprising how your burden feels lighter.

Good words. Good questions. Good conversation.

My 4:13ers, I know you may be feeling the heavy weight of your burden right now. Your struggle is hard and your faith feels weak. But remember you can find strength in Christ. As Kelly suggested, get into the Word and see that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

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Episode Transcript

 

4:13 Podcast: Can I Believe God is Working for My Good Even When Things Aren't So Good? With Kelly Minter [Episode 153]

Jennifer Rothschild: In the tough middle of hardship and frustration, it's really hard to see God at work. How do you hold on to your faith when things just keep going wrong, or how do you trust God is working all things for good when it just feels plain bad? Well, today Bible teacher Kelly Minter will assure you that God's sovereignty reigns even in your darkest moments. She's going to give you some practical Biblical ways to navigate through the dark times, and by the time we're done, you will be convinced that God's provision is enough, his presence is constant, and his purpose is unstoppable. So let the encouragement begin.

K.C. Wright: Welcome, welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and Biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Now, welcome your host, a woman who believes most problems can be solved with a little prayer and a lot of coffee and chocolate.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: And I agree. Here's Jennifer Rothchild.

Jennifer Rothschild: In fact, I think there would be fewer problems in the world with more prayer and coffee and chocolate.

K.C. Wright: It's so true.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is so true.

K.C. Wright: Hello.

Jennifer Rothschild: Welcome, you guys. We're so glad you're here. I'm Jennifer. I'm just here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you live this "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. It's been a good summer so far, so it's easy for me to say it's two friends, one topic, and zero stress.

K.C. Wright: My favorite part.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love summer. You know what I had to do, though, K.C. You may have seen her when you came. But Lucy, our little Shih Tzu, little black and white cute thing, she gets groomed every six weeks. I swear, the longer she gets groomed, the more her -- her haircuts cost as much as mine do.

K.C. Wright: Oh, I know.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Well, anyway, she's been wearing this little -- you remember it -- this little pink leopardy sweater, because she has to be, you know, looking like a lady. All right. Well, it got so hot this summer, I was like, Dude, I cannot let you wear a sweater in summer. Not only is it fashionably distasteful, but, bless her heart, she's sweating, you know. I got her little pink tank top.

K.C. Wright: Oh, that's so hilarious.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's so funny. It just comes all the way to her little cute tail. But it is literally a little pink tank top. On the top it says, "Sassy." Anyway, I was very proud of myself because I found in Walmart, so it was so cheap, which is good because it smells. I have to do her laundry as much as I do mine. Anyway, thank you, Walmart, for helping me with Lucy's fashion.

K.C. Wright: Hey, speaking of sassy and Walmart, so my daughter's 10, and the only reason that she wants to come over here when I record with Jennifer for the podcast--

Jennifer Rothschild: 'Cause of Lucy.

K.C. Wright: -- is to see Lucy face to face. But my daughter is somewhat of a fashion diva, like my co-host here, Jennifer Rothchild. I mean, she's 10, she turns 11 real soon, but let me tell you, it's all about the clothes. I'm fighting makeup. You know, we're not doing that. No, no, no, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: Not yet.

K.C. Wright: And honestly, I can see myself on her wedding day giving the toast at her wedding, and then that's when I give her her first iPhone.

Jennifer Rothschild: I gotcha.

K.C. Wright: You can now have an iPhone, baby.

Jennifer Rothschild: I agree. I agree.

K.C. Wright: Until then I'm keeping that smartphone from her. But we're at Walmart, we're in the parking lot, and a motorcycle guy pulls up in front of us, walks in front of our car. And in the silence, Ellie says, out of nowhere, "Daddy, he needs more volume on that ponytail."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: Because she's all about the shampoos and the conditioners. And I laughed all the way in the store, throughout the store, and all the way home from that one comment. Kids say the darndest things.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh. And she is smart. Well, you know, underneath Lucy's pink tank top, she might need better shampoo and conditioner also. She might like volume.

K.C. Wright: Ellie will probably paint Lucy's nails next time she's here, I'm just saying, and it will all be glitterfied.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, it is so funny.

K.C. Wright: Is that a word?

Jennifer Rothschild: But I love it. That's the stuff that makes life good.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: I'll tell you, though, my friends, what else makes life good is this conversation today. This is one of my favorite people. A lot of you -- my female friends out there may have done some of Kelly Minter's Bible studies, and you're going to love this conversation. I will tell you, though, I'm going to apologize in advance -- OK? -- because you might hear at the beginning of this conversation the rattle of an air conditioning in the background because we were in a back room. It was the green room at a Life Way Women Live event. And I noticed it at first, but then, quite honestly, I tuned it out because Kelly's words were just so much better. So I know you'll notice it at the beginning, but then you're also going to tune it out also because this conversation is going to be so good.

K.C. Wright: Kelly's got some good stuff to say today, so let's get to know her. Kelly Minter is a singer, songwriter, and Bible teacher. When she's not on the road speaking, she loves picking homegrown veggies with her six nieces and nephews, or riding a boat along the Amazon River with Justice & Mercy International. She has written six Bible studies and four books, including the one she and Jennifer will talk about this very day. It's called "Finding God Faithful." So find a seat in the green room and enjoy this encouraging, practical conversation with Jennifer and Kelly.

Jennifer Rothschild: You know, Kelly, sometimes I think when life is hard, we equate that with God not being good. We don't mean to. And I'm not saying we would all say, oh, yes, I agree. But I think sometimes our thoughts go that direction.

Kelly Minter: Oh, absolutely.

Jennifer Rothschild: Our hearts feel that way. And so, you know, one of the things that you have done a lot of work on and research on -- and I think you've also lived -- is this concept that God can still be faithful when life is not easy or good.

Kelly Minter: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I know you've written a lot about the life of Joseph. So I want to look at your life and Joseph's life -- OK? -- and I want to see the faithfulness of God in both when things didn't turn out well, because lots of us are in a place right now where things haven't turned out so well. OK?

Kelly Minter: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: So let's start with you and then we'll go to our guy Joseph. OK?

Kelly Minter: Sounds perfect.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. So you, what in your life has probably been the most consistent theme in your life where you've had to grapple with the faithfulness of God when life isn't turning out well?

Kelly Minter: That's a great question. I think the theme of obedience and being obedient to him, when things are hard and when I would rather do something else, tends to be that consistent theme for me. And a lot of times -- I mean, obedience -- sometimes we obey in great joy and our faith isn't necessarily tested, but a lot of times obedience comes in that time of it's difficult and there are challenges. And we think, OK, am I going to solve this in my own strength, am I going to strive and do what I want to have done, or am I going to submit to the authority of the Word, the authority of Christ, and am I going to do what he's asked me to do. That probably -- I know that's general, but that theme has circled --

Jennifer Rothschild: That's your reoccurring theme?

Kelly Minter: Yeah, that's the one.

Jennifer Rothschild: And what's so fascinating, you just alliterated, am I going to strive --

Kelly Minter: Oh, okay.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- am I going to solve, or am I going to submit. Preach, Kelly.

Kelly Minter: Oh, I didn't even know that.

Jennifer Rothschild: See, you --

Kelly Minter: Jennifer, thank you for just pointing that right out for me.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right. I got you a good message right there.

Kelly Minter: You did.

Jennifer Rothschild: OK, so I know that you've spent some time in the Amazon. And so have you seen this show up there? I mean, have you ever been like, not again, Lord, I don't want to go deal with this, it's not making any difference?

Kelly Minter: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: OK, so talk to us about that.

Kelly Minter: Well, that's so interesting that you ask that because the Amazon was a direct result -- or my involvement in the Amazon was a direct result of me obeying the Lord. And I say that with fear and trepidation because it was absolutely 100 percent his grace that even allowed me to obey. Right? He was encouraging me and coaxing me the whole way. But I had -- we just talked about this in another podcast a few minutes ago. But I had signed a record deal. I was so happy. It was my third one and I thought, this time I'm going to be rich and famous, all for the glory of God, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Kelly Minter: And then the Lord, he just -- he shut that down in so many different ways. But the president of the record company was involved in this ministry in the Amazon, and he invited me to come. And it was a number of years into our relationship, here he still was the president of this huge record company, was publishing worship songs that were going all over the globe. But we realized that our relationship was much less about my music and much more about what God was doing with me in the Amazon and what he was doing with the people in the Amazon. So here I had -- I was so disappointed that my music career hadn't turned out the way I wanted it to, and yet that was the way that I got to the Amazon.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Kelly Minter: And I remember having this experience about four years ago. We had just done our sixth annual Jungle Pastors Conference. And, Jennifer, you'll appreciate this. When I was starting out in ministry, I had a lot of dreams, and the sixth annual Jungle Pastors Conference was not one of them, not even kind of. So I was just trying to figure like, OK, what in the world, how is this even possible? But I was there and I was sharing -- I had never really shared my story with the pastors' wives and missionaries that I was teaching at the time. And, of course, they teach me way more than I teach them. But I had not shared my story. So I began to explain to them how I got to the Amazon and how this president of this record company had gotten me there and how all of my dreams had been shattered but I got to this place, and then I had this revelation that I would not have traded being there for any success, any accolade, any musical anything for that experience. And I just -- I mean, I sobbed and sobbed because I realized I would have missed it had I followed my own way. But the Lord, even in the disappointment and in the hardship of years and years of trying to survive as an artist and all of that, and the disappointment, he was getting me to this place that he wanted me to be, and it was really special.

Jennifer Rothschild: And when I think about that, too, you know, music changes lives, of course it does. But you record a song, it's three and a half minutes, four maybe --

Kelly Minter: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and then it's done and, of course, it reverberates through people's lives. But the lives that you have impacted in the Amazon, in these unreached people and equipping these pastors, so for generations, I mean, God can use them and bring salvation to a people that may have never heard, and that was because of your disappointment. And I think all of us need to be reminded, that's the faithfulness of God. The faithfulness of God doesn't just show up and we get what we want.

Kelly Minter: Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: It shows up in such bigger ways. And that's what you've written about in the life of Joseph. OK, so give us a little parallel -- just like if you were going to write a quick bio of who Joseph is, what would you say about him and his life?

Kelly Minter: Oh, goodness. He is the guy where nothing went as it should have gone, or even someone who was a part of the people of God, and yet God was with him. I would say -- and, of course, God was achieving something far beyond anything that he could have imagined or really anyone could have imagined for generations after. But for those who might not know the story, I mean, Joseph grows up basically in the Land of Promise. I mean, he's in a good place. I mean, this is before the major entry of the Promised Land. But he was in a good place. His father is Jacob and -- but his brothers hate him and they're jealous of him because of his special relationship with his father. And they end up trying to kill him and then they sell him. And then he has to leave this place where he is at, this place where God's presence dwells, and he goes hundreds of miles away down to Egypt and is in this pagan foreign land. And you just -- it's like -- it appears when you get -- I think it's Chapter 37, I think. Thirty-seven or 39, I can't remember. But it appears --

Jennifer Rothschild: Of Genesis?

Kelly Minter: -- yes -- that God has lost control of the story. I mean, it really looks like God has lost control of Jacob's story. And then it says that God was with Joseph. And you get this picture of God literally caravanning with him, even though he is being trafficked, and entering into Egypt with him. And then after his faithfulness and his righteousness, he gets thrown in a prison. And it says, "and God was with him and showed kindness to him." And I always say, well, if God's going to show kindness to me -- or if he was going to show kindness to Joseph, couldn't he just get him out?

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right?

Kelly Minter: Why go to all this trouble to show him kindness in the cell? Just show him kindness and get him out. But it was so beautiful to see that God was working in the middle of all of that. And he had to go down into the dungeon for him to be discovered by one of Pharaoh's men, for him to then get out and then to be in Pharaoh's court, to be able to interpret the dream. I mean, the whole story just goes on and on and it's absolutely amazing. But we see God's faithfulness when it just appears that everything is lost.

Jennifer Rothschild: And when it starts with Joseph, or when we join the story anyway in the Bible, he's only like 17, right? I mean, he's a young guy.

Kelly Minter: Yeah, right. Yes. Yeah. Absolutely.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I think there's some listening right now who listen to those and then can make their own parallels, I came from a family where, you know, terrible sibling rivalry or some family member just disdained me.

Kelly Minter: Or just a broken family.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, just plain ol' good ol' dysfunction. We've all got it.

Kelly Minter: Uh-huh, yes. Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And then what should have ended better, ended worse, and then it got worse. And I think a lot of us feel like everything just keeps happening for the worst. And especially if you look back at the year 2020 --

Kelly Minter: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and the pandemic, and we could all say, yeah, it kind of feels kind of Josephesque. But then look where he ended up. And so I think that's what -- the story of your record deal, the story of Joseph, we don't know the end of the story. And so what would you say, Kelly, to someone who's listening who's like, I'm just sick and tired of being faithful because I haven't seen God being faithful? What would you say to encourage that broken heart and that bewildered spirit?

Kelly Minter: Yeah, I would say -- and I hope this doesn't sound overly simplistic, but I would say get into the Word and get into the narrative of the Word. Obviously, New Testament is going to be huge. But also going back to those early stories of Israel's history and seeing God's faithfulness when the people weren't faithful, when life wasn't faithful, when there was just brokenness all around, and see how God was faithful in the middle of it. And you'll find yourself in the voices of those people that have come before us, you will -- I mean, Joseph, he's in the dungeon and this guy that he helped is being pulled out of the dungeon, and he goes, Don't forget me. Don't forget me. I haven't done anything wrong, and, Please, when you get out of here, let everybody know I haven't done anything wrong. Don't forget me. And we can all relate to a plea like that and to be like, Come on, I haven't done anything wrong, and don't -- you know, Don't forget me. So we see that Joseph's human. We see Jeremiah say, Lord, I am ready to just not even talk about you, I am so done. But then he says, But then it's like fire in my bones that I -- you know, and I have to speak the words. You get Ezekiel who gets called into ministry, and it says that he's being taken by the Spirit of the Lord and he is embittered by what he's going to have to do. He's angry at what he's going to have to do. So we see this over and over. We see David in the Psalms just cry out in so many different ways. So I think that if we feel like, listen, I have been faithful, Lord, you've been unfaithful, well, we're not the first people to think that. And if we go back into especially -- I don't want to dismiss the New Testament in any way, shape, or form. I just think that the Old Testament, you get those stories of people who very much felt that way, but then you also get the story of, oh, but look what happened, look what God did and how he was faithful. And then, of course, you get all the New Testament challenges and we see the faithfulness of God through the person of Christ. And so I think -- and we can't miss that in any way, shape, or form. So the Word, I find encouragement in the Word, no question.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, when you really look at the New Testament, you see the ultimate mark of God's faithfulness, and it was the empty tomb.

Kelly Minter: Yes, yes, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And it is, it is the mark of his faithfulness. We don't know the end of the story.

Kelly Minter: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And so I think that's a good encouragement to all of us. We got to trust the character of God and the promise of God more than what we see --

Kelly Minter: Yes, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: --- because the story's not finished yet.

Kelly Minter: Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- and God's still writing that story on each of our lives.

Kelly Minter: Yeah. Absolutely. And we just don't know what he's going to do in the middle of all of this. And I think that if we -- especially in this pandemic and so many incredible losses for people and so many challenges. And we want the kindness of the Lord to just get us out, like, just get us back to normal. Lord, be kind to us and just remove this. But more than likely he's going to do something similar to what he did with Joseph and he's going to show us his kindness in it. Not by getting us out of it, but he's going to show us his kindness in the middle of it. But we have to be willing to see it. We have to be able to look for it. And I think for me, so many times I am so focused on the Lord just delivering me from my pain or delivering me from the situation at hand, and that's the only form of his kindness that I'm willing to see.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Kelly Minter: And I end up shutting my eyes and my mind to all the other ways that he has shown kindness to me and the ways that he wants to use me as a minister in the middle of this. And that's something that I'm also trying to focus on, is not just focus on the ways that I'm hurting or the ways that I'm suffering, but what are ways that we can push out and look at the needs of others.

Jennifer Rothschild: Did you catch that? Kelly said she wants to not just focus on ways that she may be hurting or suffering, but what are ways that I can push out and look at the needs of others? So good.

K.C. Wright: So wise. I've heard you, Jennifer. You've said even before that, when you carry someone else's burden, yours feels lighter.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Exactly.

K.C. Wright: And that's what Kelly is saying. But 4:13ers, we know you may be feeling the heavy weight of your burdens right now. Your struggle is hard and your faith feels weak. Do what Kelly suggested. When you are tired of being faithful, get into the Word and get into the narrative of the Word.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I 100 percent agree on that. And, you know, my favorite way to do that is with the Dwell Bible app. And I want you, if you've not tried it yet, to check it out, because it is such a beautiful way to listen to Scripture. So you can find it at 413podcast.com/Dwell, or I'll have a link to it also on the show notes.

K.C. Wright: We will have a link at the show notes. And also we will have Jennifer's highlights and takeaways from this great powerful conversation. It's all found at 413podcast.com/153.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, our friends, this episode is a wrap. But remember, whatever you face, however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: And you can.

K.C. Wright: True story, you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: True story. Yes, you can. Yes, you can.

 

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