When the Worst Isn’t Really the Worst

Recently, I watched a documentary about the Roosevelts. In it, several biographers affirmed something amazing: had Franklin D. Roosevelt not contracted Polio at age 39, he would not have been prepared to be President at age 51. What that disease did for him was teach him to overcome incredible difficulties and connect  to other struggling Americans. Those lessons informed his decisions as he led the country out of the Great Depression and into World War II.

What seemed like a tragic event in his life was really a gift.

I thought of Joseph in the Bible. He, too, had tragedy thrust upon him. Several tragedies, in fact. Yet God used those tragedies to prepare him for a leadership position that saved his people.

I have seen this in my own life – on a much smaller scale. Events that seemed tragic actually turned out to be beneficial. My character was developed, my faith deepened.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (italics mine)

I don’t think I’ll ever be excited about suffering. But I can face it with faith and not fear, knowing God will use trials for my good and His glory. We know Him better as a result of suffering, we are better equipped to help others as a result of suffering, and we are conformed more into His image as a result of suffering.

Suffering draws us to God far more than the easy times do. And suffering reminds us this world is not our home: We are made for more – for a sinless eternity with the Holy God.

“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

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