“You can’t have my depression or my cancer or my diabetes or my tears of grief. They are tailor made just for me. Every painful step I take is used by my Father and He is working for my good. It’s mine and you can’t have it.” Wow, what a statement. I don’t have cancer or depression, but I have had some sad and hard times. I know people who fight cancer. I know people that battle depression. I also know a God that is active with us in ourgreatest struggles. I do agree that the storms of our life are ours alone.
Storms come to us in three basic ways. First, they are self inflicted. Something we have done to create the storm. Second, storms are the result of someone else’s sin. We have to deal with the decisions of others. Third, storms are directly from God. He has a plan and a purpose for everything I deal with. I have to take ownership – it’s mine and mine alone and it is for my good.
Good? Are you serious, GOOD? How is cancer good? How is debilitating depression good? How is heartbreaking grief good? Everything in us screams it is bad. It is painful. It has nothing good in it at all. That is how we feel and anyone trying to tell us that the pain of our crisis is good must be out of their mind. Right? Except our Lord says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:71 KJV) He also says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28 KJV)
Based on the Scriptures I must work off of this premise: what is happening to me right now is being used by God to bring good to me. Satan means harm and destruction, but God takes it with His sovereign power and works it for good. How many trials come our way that are not under His control and power? He is able to take whatever pit you may be in and to use that pit to work on you and work for you. We have to step over the barrier of doubt to see that God is doing for us what only God can do. How does this work?
There are a million ways God will work good for you, but for me I have noticed four.
- God grows my spiritual development. There is no question that when the darkness lifts I am stronger in my spiritual life. Spiritual growth is His goal for us.
- I pray more under pressure. I reach out to God when I am under pressure. There is something about the pain of cancer or depression forces us to cry out to God. When life breaks my heart and my body I cry out to God for help and for hope.
- I run to Bible reading in times of trials. While my heart is breaking, my mind is racing to the Scriptures. I believe that the Bible is the true Word of God, therefore Scripture is comfort. It is there I find words of peace, words of encouragement, and words of direction. “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.” (Psalm 119:28 KJV)
- The songs of faith sound sweeter when I am praying through the darkness. Music is a tool God uses to burn His message of grace and hope into our thoughts. We all know the little jingles of television commercials. They are designed to leave a message in your thoughts. The songs of God are even more powerful. “God will take care of you…” “It is well with my soul…” “And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains…” “I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth….”
For over forty years in ministry I have watched dear people suffer with burdens of the heart and of the body. I have watched them drag heavy burdens to the altar of prayer and only to hear our Savior say not now, not yet. Pain in this life is very real. Some of you carry more than your share and more than others. Whatever your storm: depression, cancer, fear, anger, or any combination thereof, it is yours. No one can take it from you for it is being used by a loving Father. His desire is to mold you into the image of Christ. Molding is never painless, but it always produces a God glorifying outcome.
Christ is always near His children when they suffer. “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 KJV) He will never leave you or forsake you, especially in your darkest hour.