“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 NIV). We claim this verse and quote it to friends who are struggling. But do we really understand what “working for our good” could mean?
Too often, I believe, we sentimentalize a God who works all things for our good. We connect the dots that lead to our “blessings” and good fortune and say, “God is faithful.” What do we do, though, when the dots are darker, farther apart, and harder to connect to a “blessing”? What do we do with fear and the events that led to it? What do we do with pain and the mark it leaves on us or on someone we love?
As humans bound by time and space, we have a very limited view of “our good.” Could it be, though, that “working for good” does not mean “working for our comfort”? Maybe if we take a longer view – a less human, comfort-focused view – we can learn to appreciate the trails that have led us through shadowed valleys and discover what God intends for us to learn along them. Maybe we can begin to process pain not as punishment but as provision.
Instead of focusing on working through the pain, perhaps we should focus on letting the pain work through us. God is the ultimate recycler. If you let Him, He is poised and ready to use your pain to help you become more of the person He created you to be.
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Carol's new book, Beyond Surviving, explores how to process pain as provision instead of punishment. It shares the harrowing stories of real women who have experienced profound pain and let it change them, demonstrating that there is no waste in God’s economy.