by Brandy Webb
The other day, I was reading a thankfulness journal that I have. I am actually supposed to do it daily, but I forget sometimes. However, the other day, I remembered, and it asked, “When have you seen God use suffering for good?” It was in reference to Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (NAS).
I thought about the question for a while. I know that there are many circumstances in my life where a trial worked for good. I also know a few people that have taken a tragedy and turned it into something beautiful. Currently, I am hoping that what someone I dearly love is going through will turn into a miraculous blessing in the end. Yet, the main thing that really struck me was the fact that there is one major event in time that was extremely tragic and full of pain that worked for good for all humanity if they choose to answer God’s call and to love Him. It is our Messiah’s sacrifice.
I know that we all acknowledge the fact that without His sacrifice we would not have a chance for eternal life, but sometimes, for me, I forget how much He physically suffered. I do realize that His resurrection is what fully sealed the covenant. However, I do not want to lose sight on how much His body suffered in order for us to be healed both spiritually and physically. Just pay attention to the pain that Isaiah reveals that the Messiah faced:
3 He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all (Isaiah 53:3-6, NLT).
What I see here is a tragic occurrence in time that God definitely worked for good. God knows personally how pain and suffering can work for good, and this type of love and sacrifice to bring on good for others is the type of love we are to have for each other (John 14:12; 15:13).
I know that it is hard when you are in a trial to believe that it somehow will work for good, especially if it is a trial where a loved one has passed. Yet, we have to hold fast to God’s Word. He lived it. His suffering worked for our good. Maybe our suffering, in turn, works for someone else’s good. Seeing how we still have faith and joy in the midst of a trial can strengthen someone else’s faith. I think we shine brightest when we believe in God, love God, hope in God, walk in His truth, and still find joy during the storms of life. At least we can hold onto the fact, that due to Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, we have the good knowledge that this life is not all there is. We can also hold fast to more of Paul’s wisdom. He states, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NIV). Nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37); let us not ever forget that.