Suboptimal circumstances can create glorious opportunities.
When the kingdom of Israel was scattered by the Assyrians, it was a direct consequence of their disobedience to the commandments of God:
They rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them….
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.2 Kings 17:15, 18
But they weren’t out of God’s sight or out of His reach. That’s merely a description of how they felt. They may have felt rejected and lost, but God never forgot them:
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.Isaiah 54:7-8, 3 Nephi 22:7-8
Furthermore, their scattering served a valuable immediate purpose: it allowed them to influence people whom they never would have known if they had remained at home:
The Lord scattered and afflicted the twelve tribes of Israel because of their unrighteousness and rebellion. However, the Lord also used this scattering of His chosen people among the nations of the world to bless those nations.“Israel,” Guide to the Scriptures
Likewise, think about the expanded influence of the people who were displaced from Jerusalem because of the Babylonian captivity:
- Lehi and his family, as well as Mulek and his people, traveled to the American continent and established a righteous civilization far from Jerusalem. Lehi’s sons, Nephi and Jacob, took great comfort in the Lord’s promises to remember those who were “upon the isles of the sea.” (See 2 Nephi 10:21, 2 Nephi 29:7.)
- Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, experienced great miracles in the city of Babylon. (See Daniel 1-6.)
- Esther demonstrated great faith on behalf of her people in the kingdom of Persia. (See Esther 4-8.)
- King Cyrus may have been profoundly influenced by the prophecy of Isaiah that he would rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 44:28, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.)
God loves all of His children. Sometimes, He places us in difficult circumstances so we can interact with people whom we would not otherwise have known. In that way, He blesses us, and He blesses them.
Today, I will be grateful for my current circumstances. I will look for the opportunities God has given me to serve others and to experience miracles today.