It takes a lot of work to find good in the world these days. Gone are the carefree times of unlocked doors and actually knowing your neighbors. We tear up and bite at one another simply for holding a different opinion than our own and take it personally if a celebrity makes poor choices.
Disease. Divorce. Financial strain. Rejection. Rebellion. Discord. Disillusionment.
The list could go on and on of things we could stress over and lose our hope.
Ever since I was called into ministry, I have heard of and seen a fair share of heartbreak and hurt. And I can’t lie, it really gets to me sometimes. Doubts begin to creep into my mind of the goodness of God and how He can allow such horrible things to happen to his most beloved.
That’s when I must remember that He never wanted any of the hurt we see around us. It was all our doing. Our own freewill that brought all the destruction upon this earth. Remember the earth was once paradise and in perfect harmony. We chose the lie. We chose sin. We can’t blame Him for any of it.
But we can thank Him for providing a way to save us from it.
When I think about all of my friends, co-workers and acquaintances that are hurting I can’t help but think of how gracious and merciful our God is too. Though it’s so hard to see the good that will come of your heartbreak, believe me I know it’s hard to see, we have to trust Him that it’s there. It will come. And in His perfect timing. Maybe we won’t even be alive when His grace is revealed through our heartache. Or maybe the good won’t manifest anywhere you can see it this side of Heaven. But it’s always there.
When I was in the 7th grade (the age of my youngest daughter), I had a good friend I went to church with. Her mother had struggled for years with breast cancer and God quietly called her home one day. It was the saddest thing I could ever think of at such a young age. Losing my mom. What if that had been my mom?
What if it had been me?
I began to question so many things in the following weeks. Why would God do that to my friend? Leave her motherless. And where did her mother go when she died?
Where would I go if I died?
I had been attending church regularly for years. I was raised in the Episcopal church, so I was baptized one Easter Sunday when my mom decided I needed to be. I had the pretty dress. The shiny shoes. And I said all the right words. But I really had no clue what I was doing.
So there I was alone in my bedroom one night, 12 years old and not able to sleep from sharing my friends heartache. I pulled out my Bible and began to flip through the delicate, thin pages. I was searching for anything that could soothe me and give me an answer of why…?
That’s when a small little yellow tract that I had pulled from the back of a pew one day fell out of my Bible and into my lap. I had never read it before. Maybe I was saving it for such a time as this.
The simplicity of it held my attention as I read, well, the simplicity of the Gospel. Don’t we tend to complicate it so?
We are sinners. God loves us anyway. Accept both truths. Ask forgiveness. Repent.
But I never understood it until I was hurting. God didn’t have my attention until He allowed the suffering in my life. More truthfully, I wasn’t seeking Him until He allowed the suffering in my life. And we don’t, do we? We don’t think we need help with anything if life is good. And let’s face it, up until about the seventh grade, life is pretty sweet!
My friend doesn’t know that her mom’s death saved me. She has no clue that my eternal destination was changed because of what God allowed. And it seems strange to give thanks for that circumstance, but I have to believe that if He used it for the good of saving a 12-year-old little girl, He also used it for so much more that we can’t even fathom.
That’s just who He is.
So, when I get discouraged in the hurt that surrounds me, I have to remember how Jesus met me in my bedroom one night. I have to remember that death gave me eternal life. When looking at the hurt from that perspective, it gives hope. And even a reason to be thankful in the suffering.