3. God’s agenda has always been and will always be redemptive in nature.
Only God has the unique ability to take what was initially intentioned to bring harm, redeem it and bring good even from it.
This is what Jesus’ ministry was all about; taking what was broken and restoring it to reflect the goodness and wholeness of God’s kingdom.
4. God doesn’t need or require evil to bring about good, but can use even it to do just that.
If God required evil in any way, it would make evil good, which it clearly is not.
5. When God redeems our suffering, it can occasion personal growth.
This has been my experience on more than one occasion.
A person can oftentimes learn patience when they have to wait.
A person can learn wisdom when they reflect on the good and bad times in life.
A person can become compassionate toward others when they endure challenge, difficulty and pain themselves.
In times of sorrow, God comforts us so we in turn can comfort others in their sorrow.
God doesn’t require evil and suffering in order to bring about good, but redeems it, changes its trajectory of harm and uses even it to occasion good.
6. When God redeems our suffering, it can occasion community growth.
Shared suffering can help build true community. Pulling together in a common crisis, setting aside petty differences in the service of a larger goal, turning one’s attention from the neighbor to focus upon a larger threat—all of these aspects of coping together with a danger or disaster can form and strengthen communal ties (John Stackhouse, Can God be Trusted? Pg. 62).
7. Our suffering is temporary.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1b-3).
So, as you can see, it is very important to properly frame our pain in light of what God has done in and through Jesus. It brings greater clarity into the fuzziness and disoriented mess that suffering brings with it.
We also see that God’s plan has always been redemptive in nature and that He alone has the unique ability to use even our most painful experiences to bring about good, even though He never orchestrated or needed it.
Perhaps this is the greatest lesson of all.