This is one of those verses that get quoted in every bad situation- illness, death, job loss, divorce, etc… We spout this verse like a magic phrase, in which, once said, makes all things better. It doesn’t. Uttering these 24 words doesn’t make anything hurt less or change the situation. When used at the right time, it can be a powerful giver of hope, however. The incredible point of this passage is that God never lets bad things happen without a promise of bringing good out of it.
I have had a mess of ugly in my life- much of it my own doing. I gave up my youth and young adulthood to single motherhood. I was spiritually rotting from shame and guilt and feelings of worthlessness and gross inadequacy. God used every bit of it to build up my courage and faith. He showed me that there is no brokenness that He cannot heal. He showed me how strong I am in Him- I don’t have to fear being broken, because I can’t be. He showed me what true love, grace, and mercy look like.
The latest bout of trials were just life. My body broke under the stress of extreme activity in my daily job, and I have lived with chronic back pain for the last 7 years (3 yrs after surgery)- frustration abounding. God taught me utter humility. He used this situation to rid me of my pride and teach me how to rely upon Him for every thing. My grace is sufficient…
Much worse, however, was my dad’s unexpected death at age 52. In those moments, God is the only comfort. Such sweet people poured loved and encouraging words upon my family and I- but God and God alone can speak through that kind of pain. In the thick of the deep, the only thing that kept me going was Revelation 21:3-4… He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. There was nothing left for me but the promise that it won’t hurt in the future.
Even in this, though, God proved His faithfulness. Even my dad’s death was not left in ashes. God built beauty from it. In each of these situations I’ve mentioned, God has shone in my life. I can tell you in every moment how God used it for good.
We usually do not get to know why the bad things happen in our lives- apart from free will and sin- but we do get to see God in those bad moments and see God work in the aftermath. I have truly learned to cherish the hard times, because it is in those moments when I see God so clearly, when I feel Him acutely, and when I hear His loving whispers so loudly. Truly, blessed are the weak in spirit, those who are in mourning, for God draws them near and whispers healing words into broken spirits.
If you have seen God in your trials, I would love to hear your testimony. If you are wondering how God can redeem you situation, beloved, I pray you grab onto God tightly and tell Him over and over again, “I will not let go until you bless me!“ So often we give up on God long before the work He has done on our behalf has manifested. Demand it of Him!! He has promised you, love. Have chutzpah, remind Him of those promises- demand fulfillment- like the great Abraham, Moses, and Jacob. And then hold on until He uses it for good.