Redeeming the Rotten

Sometimes, life can really stink. I’m not talking about bombing a test or getting a ticket. I’m talking parents are divorcing, Grandma has cancer, that kind of stuff. The stuff that is awful. Stuff that makes you wonder if God really cares. Stuff that makes the verse that says “God works all things for good to those who love the Lord” seem like it doesn’t apply to you. How can good come from tragedies? What good can be found in a divorce or a death, in heartache?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard broken-hearted people ask, “Why would God allow this to happen?” He could have stopped that divorce, healed the cancer, prevented that accident. But he didn’t. He let it happen. Why?

I understand that sentiment – I have felt it, too. But as I study God’s word, I see character after character who suffered – painfully. Joseph was punished for his purity. Job was attacked for his righteousness. Jeremiah was rejected for preaching God’s words…

Those men, and so many others, serve as examples to us – examples of how God redeems the rotten circumstances of life. That doesn’t mean what happened to them was good. Being falsely imprisoned is not good. Losing home, health, and family is not good. Being perscuted is not good. But God allowed good to come from it. But for two of those three, the good wasn’t seen during their lifetimes. Job never knew why he lost so much. Jeremiah never saw the people respond positively to his message. Only Joseph saw the good that came from his tragedies. But even that knowledge didn’t erase the terrible memories of being abandoned by his family and being imprisoned for being pure.

What I cling to during the times that life seems rotten is my faith. Not the “I believe I can fly…” faith-in-faith stuff, but real faith in a real God. A God who is so much better than I can imagine and who knows so much more than what my finite mind can grasp. Faith in the truth of God’s word. Faith that someday, I will understand everything. Faith in an eternity so wonderful that the trials I face here will disappear from my memory. Faith that the God of the Bible – the God I serve – walks with me through the worst of times and redeems even the most rotten situation.

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