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 God Meant It For Good

     Everyone is hurt by someone else at one time or another. Sometimes there are relatively minor misunderstandings and hurts, which are easily made up again, and life goes on happily. Sometimes we are so deeply crushed and heartbroken that it's easy to feel like a tiny ant that has been run over on the busy expressway. No one knows and no one cares, and all the traffic just keeps streaming on by. Sometimes it can seem like we have been run over and crushed accidentally in the never-ending hustle of life. No one hated us and wanted to suffer. We just happened to be in the way when someone wanted something, so we were trampled on. And though we are crushed and broken, life just streams on around us as always. We feel utterly alone, un-noticed, forgotten, and lost in the vastness of the universe.

     But God has NEVER forgotten one of His children. Other people hurt us for all kinds of different reasons. Sometimes we are hurt by someone because they are very different from us, and are they are not able to be sensitive to our needs. Sometimes people hurt us because they care so much about themselves that they are willing to crush someone else, if need be, to satisfy their own desires. Occasionally (very rarely, I hope!) people hurt others simply because they receive pleasure out of hurting someone. But NO ONE ever hurts us outside of GOD'S perfect plan for our lives. No one can touch us outside of HIS will for our life.

* Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31.

     When wicked men wanted to crucify Jesus they thought He was totally in their power, and that they could do whatever they pleased to Him, but Jesus said:

* "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above." John 19:11

     Most my deepest hurts have come from other people. And I have struggled through years of trying to cope and severely blaming myself. I have been tortured by "what if" and "if only". "What if I had not had to move?" "What if I had done this or that differently?" "If only I was a different kind of person!" But there is no peace in those thoughts because I can never undo the past.

     It was only when I was able to grasp that GOD chose the pain for my life that peace came to my tortured heart. I could finally look beyond all the circumstances of life, which made me very susceptible to being hurt. I could look beyond the people who were willing to leave me crushed and broken to satisfy their own desires. I could look beyond my own weakness. I could look beyond it all into my Heavenly Father's face and take the pain from His tender loving heart.

     Yes, I DO believe that all mentally sound human beings are responsible for their own actions. I do NOT believe that God ever forces any human being to sin. I do not believe that He ever forces any human being to hurt someone else. But I do believe that He can stop any one of us dead in our tracks, and totally stop any plan that we may have. Nothing takes God by surprise. He could see those things that would cause me years of suffering and leave deep scars, before I was ever conceived. He had endless ages to work things out so that I would never experience them. He chose not to. (There are probably countless other heartaches and dangers that I would have experienced, except that God chose that they would never touch me. I will probably find out about those in heaven.) He could look down the corridors of time, and make sure I never met the people that caused me so much heartache. He chose not to. There are hundreds of ways God could have spared me years of intense suffering which my little mind has never thought of, but He did not chose to. Instead, He chose to lead me through it, because He had GOOD that He wanted to bring about by it.

     I KNOW that because God IS love (1 John 4:8) and has perfect wisdom. Perfect love and perfect wisdom CAN NOT put anyone through suffering for no reason.

     My love is only human, but I feel like I would move heaven and earth if I only could to take away the suffering in the lives of those I love. However, God, who is able, does not take it away. Does God love less than I do? Ah no! A thousand times no! It is just that He can see the whole path from beginning to end, and has planned it all. I cannot see anything beyond the heartrending suffering.

     He knows exactly where He is taking us and why. We can only see a tiny bit of the path under our feet, and feel the rocks and the thorns, and wonder how we will ever survive to the end on such rough, steep terrain.

     God often brings suffering into our lives for someone else's good. He uses it to teach us things we would never learn in unclouded sunshine and joy. He uses it to teach us compassion and give us deep empathy. Then He comforts us so that we are able to comfort someone else. He uses what seems to us like one tangled senseless maze of events to bring us to the right place at the right time, to help someone else.

* Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

* Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:6

     We all know the story of Joseph in Genesis. God had a plan for Joseph's life just as He does for each one of His children. He started working to fit him for the job, and get him in the right place at the right time. However, just like us, Joseph could not see the end, and I can only imagine how heartbroken he must have been so much of the time that God was working to bring His plan about. His brothers hated him and most of them wanted to kill him. God was going to use him greatly, so of course no one was going to be able to kill him. However, God let him be rejected by his own family and put into a pit alone. He let him be sold, and taken to a strange land away from everyone he knew and loved. He let him be tempted by evil, and even when he did right, let him be falsely accused and thrown into prison. He let him be forgotten by the chief butler, when he asked to be remembered. I can only imagine how Joseph might have felt through all the tangled, seemingly senseless maze of pain and injustice, but he was never for one moment outside of the perfect plan of God.

     He was right where God wanted him, when God needed him to save thousands of lives in the famine. And Joseph could confidently say to those who so wronged him,

* But as for you, you meant evil against me; but GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:29

     It was not an accident when Joseph went to Egypt the way that he did. It was not an accident that our precious sinless Savior was nailed to the cross. And it is not an accident when our lives are filled with pain and our hearts broken.

     I have found peace amid the deep pain in simply looking straight to my Savior, and taking the sorrow and loss from His tender loving heart as just another part of HIS plan and purpose to bring good out of my life. When I feel overwhelmed with the pain of life, I turn to Him and ask Him, "Lord, what are YOU trying to teach me in this?" "What good do YOU want to bring about by this?" Most of the time His answer is "Just trust me today, someday you will see." I am content with that. Sometimes I can see the good that was meant in a short time. Other times I may not see the good until I am walking the golden streets. But in either case I can TRUST Him because I know that He will not give me one more teardrop than is necessary to bring about the good He has planned in my life.

* For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

2004 A Sister In Christ