Who is God?
A person who can take something cruel, ugly and broken and make it into something beautiful.
“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.” Romans 8:28
This is not easy to believe when something horrible happens to us or a loved one. But I believe it, because I have seen it happen in my own family and in the Bible.
Joseph was sold by his brothers to be a slave in Egypt. Looking at that, can you see how any good could come out of a terrible betrayal by your own brothers? Then he was accused falsely of rape and thrown in jail. How could any good come from that? Joseph didn’t deserve these catastrophes, but God allowed them to happen.
Later, when he had become a ruler in Egypt he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20
Both Jesus and Paul said to rejoice in trials. “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about endurance; And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
I used to read this and think, “Who cares about endurance? Just get me out of here!” I didn’t care about strength of character either. But apparently God does and who am I to argue? He did bring me through all this to a place of hope and peace.
Who am I?
I’m someone who was abused by my father and because of that have had many emotional or mental problems and suffering. It didn’t really hit me until I was 45, but when it did, I spiraled down into despair. I could not rejoice in this suffering; I just wanted to die.
Now, after years of reading books on suffering, I can see how it drives us to God for help. If our lives were wonderful and almost perfect, I doubt many of us would ever think of God. God uses the suffering in this world to draw people to him. He doesn’t cause it, but he can turn it into something beautiful. The suffering and death of little children is indeed horrible; but we can take heart, knowing all children will be saved and live with Jesus forever.
My father’s family was full of abusers. His two brothers and one of his sisters abused their children. I used to say, “I come from a cursed family.” And perhaps that was true, but what is interesting is that most of the children from this crazy family are Christians. The pain pushed us all to God. Out of the four sisters and one brother, all but one are Christians. It is amazing. My brother died at 22, but the last article he wrote for a Christian newsletter was about how he was ready to die and meet Jesus.