We have all experienced situations in life that are distressing. From relatively minor things like being stuck in traffic and missing the bus to major things like the loss of a job or ending up in jail, we have all gone through “bad” things. They are often very painful. We try to pray them away, but God doesn’t seem to be paying any attention. Doesn’t he care?
Oh, he does, but he lets us go through them to fulfill a greater plan and purpose for our lives. We don’t see the complete picture—how can we?— but God does, and we need to trust that he knows what he is doing. In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells them: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Notice he doesn’t say “in a few things” but “in all things,” meaning that God is working for our good in everything that happens in our lives, good or bad. We might not understand how good can come out of a particular situation we are going through, but we can rest assured that God will make that happen.
As an illustration, consider the event that we celebrate as Good Friday today. We can call it “good” only in retrospect. At the time, it must have seemed like it was a very bad Friday! Jesus was betrayed by a man he loved. All his friends deserted him in his greatest hour of need. He was scorned and vilified by just about everybody else. He was forced to carry a cross up a hill, and once he was there, he was crucified on the same cross that he carried. What a horrible thing to happen! His enemies would undoubtedly have rejoiced, but to everyone who remained close to him, especially his apostles who saw all their hopes and dreams dashed to pieces, it would have seemed like a terrible day! But then Jesus rose again, and they soon realized that was seemed so bad was actually good. Very good.
All these reflections that you are reading in this series are based on actual lessons I have learned in the wilderness where I have spent the last several months. What took me through the worst moments was knowing with absolute certainty that God would make good come out of it all. I can already see about a dozen “good” things happening, including these reflections, and I know God has many more beautiful things in store.
So, dear friend, I ask you to believe in this truth and cling to it with all your heart. No matter how badly things might be going for you at this moment in time, how terrible life might have become, how great the heartache, how painful the sickness, how tragic the loss, know—really, truly know—that God will make good come out of it.
Be at peace now.