God Used Evil for Good

By Aaron Chagoya


I am so very thankful to my Heavenly Father for where I have been, where I am now and where he is guiding me. I have been in a relationship with the God of the Bible for a little over six years. There have been countless times where I have needed to actively rely on him and his provision through all of the trials and suffering that life in a broken world brings. Whenever I have trouble seeing how it is possible to move forward, I reflect on how God has provided and will continue to establish my steps.

When I was ten, my family moved into the house of a family friend because we had been evicted from our apartment. The woman we stayed with offered us one room for my parents and five other siblings to use at the time. It wasn’t much, but we made the most of what we had at the time. Over time though, this woman caused conflict between my parents and their marriage. My parents divorced during that time, and my mom had to leave home. She wasn’t allowed to see my siblings, and I didn’t understand why. After she left, the home environment became increasingly worse. This woman we stayed with was verbally abusive and would constantly remind my dad and siblings that without her we would be homeless and on the street. My dad tolerated the verbal abuse as he was still looking for a job so that we could find a place of our own.

Verbal abuse escalated to physical abuse quickly, and soon I couldn’t go to school for days at a time to hide my injuries. I did everything that I could to try to make the best out of the situation, but the resources of a 10-year-old are limited. The month before the police came I was sitting in the bedroom that my siblings and I shared and prayed for the first time. It was a short prayer but sincere as I asked, “God, if you are real, please save my family and me, because it hurts being here.” I prayed to God at 14 which is when CPS and the police department came and arrested the woman after numerous tips were filed to get my siblings and I out of the house. I was placed in a foster home away from my siblings without knowing if I would see them again.

My foster parents played a significant role in my faith as they are both Christians and invited me to go with them to the church they attended. The first sermon I heard while at church was on the topic of forgiveness and what it means and what it doesn’t—that forgiveness is being able to let go of the of the hurt and not let it consume me anymore. That I can trust in God to deliver justice for me and those that have sinned against me. I stayed with my foster parents for a year which was the most impactful year of my life to date. It was January 29th, 2012 that I prayed that God would enter my life and I could feel something different about me that night—I was a new person. No longer weak but made strong in Christ. The church community surrounded me in support and my faith stuck with me when I returned home with my Mom and siblings.

I think I can relate to Joseph in Genesis where there is a long series of events and unmistakable evil done to him in his life. Yet, God redeems him and those around him which Joseph acknowledges by saying “What you intended for evil, God used for good.” I am confident that the Lord God is using my experience to help those around me find hope in a Heavenly Father that loves them perfectly. That the love of God is shown through the atonement of Jesus on the cross and that by that we are able to move forward in hope.

Since then, God has continued to show me more of his grace in my life throughout different life seasons. Most recently I have been learning what it means to abide or be connected to Jesus as "He is the true vine” (John 15). I have also been challenged and encouraged by others to think on Micah 6:8 and ask the question, “What does the Lord require of me?” The events in my past may help explain me but do not define me. I can walk forward in a positive trajectory because of Christ and know that he hears my prayers. Whenever I reflect on my past, I have the confidence to move forward, knowing fully well that the work that he started in me will continue until I see Christ face to face.


Past Grace that Builds a Legacy of Faith

By: Mark Smith

Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”


Leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar is at the very least an adventure filled with questions. I am sure that anyone who has felt a supernatural call to leave their comforting residence is faced with many, many questions. “What will it be like? Where will I live? What’s the weather like?” These are a few that come to mind. I am sure that Abraham had some of these similar questions when God called him to leave everything he knew and go live in unfamiliar territory. When faced with questions about where we are going, it is crucial for a Christian to remember the God who directed their steps first. Our God does not ask us to move forward without reminding us to look back. When his fingerprints have left smudge marks on our past, we cannot see our past experiences without first looking at where His glorious hands have been. Some things we see as obvious works by God, and others we don’t. There are many things he does without letting us in on the details. But whether we see it or not, we know without a doubt that He was there, moving, speaking, inspiring, and breathing life into us, despite our changing emotions.


My son, Gabriel, asks a thousand questions every day. When Amy and I were planning our move to Seattle, Gabe was very quick to ask why we were leaving. He was looking at how we would respond to this new move. To him, the move itself was irrelevant. It was our experience of the process that mattered most. If we were stressed, frequently doubted God, argued, and let our emotions fog the future, he would see God’s direction as a negative thing; that faith in God’s guidance is what brings stress, not joy. We were careful to see that his reaction was a response to our faith in God’s direction. We were leaving a legacy of faith; a legacy that either pointed toward God’s future grace or away from it. So the question arose, how can we leave a legacy of faith?

Genesis and Hebrews give us insight as to how Abraham had faith to obey God, despite any questions or concerns he had. “For he was looking forward to the city” (Heb. 11:10), by remembering, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2). Looking back on God’s past grace in our lives gives us faith to look forward to the future grace He will give us in our new adventures. This faith, the faith that looks back on God’s grace makes our new adventures secure, joyful, and exciting to have hope in.


When our family affirmed God’s call to move back to Seattle, we definitely had questions about what this next season would like. Although we had lived there before, our lives had changed in Guam. We felt like different people. We wondered how God was going to use us in Seattle. Questions about where we would live, people we would reconnect with, etc. entered our minds frequently. Thanks to God’s past grace, we were able to look forward to His future grace and provision. C.H. Spurgeon comes to mind when I think about the faith we should have in God’s future plans for us, “Has not God done it and proved himself a Sovereign? And must we not see in this that God in some way or other has fixed our destiny, from the very fact that the opening bud of life is entirely in his hands? It does seem rational that since God appointed the commencement of our existence, there should be some evidence of his control in the future parts of it.”

God is continuing to pour His grace on us in the future plans he leads us down. We can respond by remembering His past grace in our lives, telling our kids about it, and leaving a legacy of faith in our families. Look back, see His fingerprints, see the smudge marks on our lives as answers to the questions we have about the future. Our response will turn from anxiousness to joyfulness, from concern to celebration, from a lacking faith to a legacy of faith.