Trials often make people question God's faithfulness, and I have certainly had my fair share of that. But when I reflect on my miscarriage, my mom’s cancer and death, and other painful situations that I have yet to write about, I have seen how much God used those difficult seasons for my good. This is not difficult for me to admit; at this point, it has become a familiar truth to me. God used pain in my life for good and this simply echoes what His Word already says to be true. Romans 8:28 says "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." I learned of God’s love and kindness toward me at the times when circumstances in my life were darkest. I came to experience His faithfulness through pain, and yet, in my mind these things were separate. God allowed the pain and He redeemed it – but the pain itself was a separate entity from His faithfulness to me.
The Bible provides a bit of a different perspective though. It talks about how God's faithfulness to me is expressed through suffering and trials being used to refine me (Isaiah 48:10), produce perseverance (James 1:2-4), test me (1 Peter 1:6-7), and discipline me (Hebrews 12:7-8). In fact, if I keep reading past Romans 8:28, which proclaims that God works for my good, I see exactly what kind of good He is promising to work in me: "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son" (Romans 8:29a). Thus, God's good plan for me is to make me more like Jesus.
Furthermore, God doesn't just sit by idly, allowing pain to enter my life with only the promise to use it for good in the end. Instead the Bible tells us that God is sovereign (Psalm 135:6) and intentional (Lamentations 3:37). Nothing gets by Him without His notice. God doesn’t just “find a way” to rescue me and redeem my pain; no, God chose to allow it in order to use it for His good purposes.
At times, God sees something in me that He wants to mold, correct, or refine – and He is intentional in how He brings about those changes, often using difficult situations as a way to produce growth. The intentionality here means that He is not simply reacting to my painful situation and promising rescue by the end; it means that at the moment my pain is first experienced, His rescue has already begun.
At first thought, this notion that God intentionally allows, and perhaps may even ordain, painful situations was uncomfortable to me. And yet when I consider my life more closely, I have actually found great reassurance in the knowledge that both blessings and suffering are evidence of His faithfulness to me. God has always been in sovereign control of the details of my life, even the painful ones. The purpose of my pain has, at times, been a great mystery to me, but I find comfort in knowing that this purpose has never been a mystery God. He is never confused or surprised by circumstances in my life - He knew and established each day of my life before I was even born.
God knows that for those who follow Him, suffering produces in us good. It is a good that makes us better able to be used for His purposes in the revealing of His glory; and it is a good that is good for us as we begin to cling more to Him and less to everything else. His care for our lives is sovereign and wise; He is the Rescuer and Redeemer – who often uses our pain as the very means of our rescue.
That’s what He did for Job. Just look how God used his story over years and years!
With Him, nothing is wasted,
ARH Staff Writer