For Our Good, Not Our Comfort

Most (if not all) of us have been in a situation that seemed hopeless. We’ve prayed to God and sought after his guidance. We asked Him for answers, pleaded for His intervention, but didn’t see the results we hoped for.

God is sovereign and knows everything that has happened and will happen to us. More than that He loves us. We won’t always understand His methods and plan, but the book Romans does tell us that for the believer in Christ, God works all things for our good according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

However, it’s crucial to understand that our definition of good and God’s definition of good can vary greatly. We tend to think that if something undesirable or devastating happens to us there’s no way it could be a part of God’s plan for our life.

However, that’s not completely true. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 we read:

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

We see that it was good for the thorn to remain in Paul’s flesh because it humbled him, and required him to find strength in Christ’s power and not his own.

The same can be said about Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery  but rose to power in Egypt under the approval of Pharaoh, as well as many others in the bible.

You see, it is good for us to realize our need for God, to revere Him, to be humbled, to rely on his strength instead of our own. It is good for us not be stuck in our comfort zone. God is using every situation to draw us closer to Him and shape us into the image of Christ.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

I’ve seen it in my own life. Eleven years ago my father passed away unexpectedly. It was the most devastating loss I’ve ever experienced, but now when I can look back and see the good things God birthed from that situation. Please understand that I’m not saying losing my father was a good thing. It’s what God did in me that was good.

He drew me closer to him, and I developed a new dependency for Him. I understood the depth of His love more.  And my pain? It found an outlet – writing. Now I write for his glory.

If you’re currently in a situation that feels hopeless – in the aftermath of a break up, in the midst of mourning the loss of a loved one, enduring ridicule or accusations, facing rejection from your family, feeling stuck in your job or any situation – don’t lose heart. God is with you. Continue to seek Him and draw from His strength. What’s He’s doing in your life is has a purpose, it’s not in vain. Trust Him.

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7