Friday, September 16, 2016

Sometimes, it's just bad--and that's okay

Most of the time, I try to see the good in things--The reason behind why things happen. The silver lining behind every cloud. The good within the bad. 


Recently I realized something. It shook me up a little at first, but ultimately left me feeling as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I don't mean to sound depressing, but I'll just be frank. 

Sometimes bad things are just that--bad. 


Try to stick with me until the end, because I promise you that there is redemption in all of this. Good is coming. There is hope. Hold on tight to those promises. 


Recently, I've spoken with several friends who have been led through unimaginable trials. Sickness. Depression. Physical pain. Emotional pain. Death. Together, we wrestled through the questions of suffering, of redemption, of finding the good in the struggle. In a devastating loss. In a diagnosis. In broken dreams. In sin. In abandonment. In suffering. As we spoke, I was reminded of a somewhat disappointing, yet incredibly encouraging truth--some things are just utterly horrible and bad. 


But wait, there's more. I was reminded of another truth and relief washed over me.  


God is entirely, irrevocably good in spite of that bad. 


In a weird way, the realization that some things are just plain bad brought comfort. I no longer felt the pressure to make sense of it all--God could see the bigger picture and was holding every detail in his hands all along. 


God is life. He is anti-death. God sent Jesus Christ to conquer death. To completely destroy it. To provide hope to the hopeless. To give us an opportunity to spend eternity in paradise with Christ. To give life. 


The prisoner, tortured for their beliefs. The orphan, dying of starvation. The infant, writhing in pain as they battle a terminal illness. These things are utterly heartbreaking and may not hold any ounce of good--yet, Christ is coming to make all things right. To destroy the bad for eternity. To take the bad and make it into something good. 


Romans 8:28 is a passage that is often used to provide comfort in suffering, and to help as we search for the silver lining. It says, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Sometimes we misinterpret this to mean that all the bad things that happen to us are good; that pain, and sin, and death are ultimately good. But perhaps some of the things that we face are entirely bad. Regardless, the words ring true-- God will work all things together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. The good things. The bad things. No circumstance is beyond his reach and his redemption. 


A friend of mine shared a quote from "Holding on to Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. In it, she shared Philippians 3:8-11: "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him.... As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!"


II Corinthians 5:1-2 says, "For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling." 


Sometimes, I wish I could go back to who I was three years ago--before things got hard. Before struggling to conceive. Before watching my precious, long-awaited child die in my arms. Before miscarrying our second child. And our third. Back to when I thought the world was all good and life would be easy. 


Yet, I don't think I would ever want to go back there. For in my suffering is where I've felt the closest to Christ. It's where I've seen the world for what it is--and Heaven for the promise that it is. 

And strangely, it's where I've found the most joy. The most good. The most hope. 

Please understand--I'm not saying that there is nothing good in the world. There is. Oh, there is so much joy and goodness that we've been given, despite the bad. There are reasons to smile, and to laugh, and to celebrate. (I attached a photo from our recent trip to the mountains as proof--There is most definitely beauty in the world that God has given us. He called creation "good"--and it is.)


There is hope and opportunity and joy, and I implore you to hang on tight and keep moving forward. Don't give up. Don't lose hope. 

But when the bad comes--and it will--don't beat yourself up trying to find the good in something that is completely bad. Give it to God. He knows just how bad the bad is--better than we even do. He will redeem the bad and turn around for good. 


Romans 8: 26-30

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because[g] the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he alsopredestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.


1 comment:

  1. The bad is definitely a part of our walk here. So many things don't make sense. Thankfully, He walks beside us and as the old hymn says, "Farther along, we'll understand why...". We don't have to understand, He still provides solace. Thank you for your thoughts and hear-felt sharing. I continue to pray for you and your husband. Blessings and comfort.

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