A friend pondered a question to me – why is the day Jesus died a horrific death on the cross good? It led me to think about what God means when he says good. In Jeremiah 29:11 speaking to the Jews he said, “I know the thoughts I have for you thoughts of good not evil to give you a future and a hope.” And in Romans 8:28 it says, “God works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” In both cases these often quoted and very famous Scripture references speak of good but not in the sense that we us the word.
I had a good day means that nothing bad happened today. It was good. No problems, no undue pressures, maybe even some pleasure. Maybe some hope that the future will also bode well for me. But that is not what God means when he says good.
If you delve into the Scripture good usually means spiritual good. And that usually means the molding and shaping of each and every one of us into Christ-like beings from the inside out. Whatever “bad” that has to come our way to get us to the point of being moldable at all is considered the pain that brings gain. Our goal is usually to be happy but that is not God’s goal for us as stated in the Scripture. His goal for us is to be as much like him as possible.
Unfortunately the best way to learn and grow and change and develop is through our mistakes. People who don’t make mistakes may be talented and able to accomplish great things with their skill, but when the wind blows, they get knocked over pretty quickly. I’m testimony to that. I had never failed until my husband left me. It is the first time in my life that I didn’t get the end result I wanted. And that was a learning…believe – you – me…
Humanity learns from adversity. That is how God intended it to be. Tragedy isn’t good in and of itself. But the result of some tragedies can produce change, and learning, and growth that simply couldn’t be accomplished any other way.
Jesus dying on the cross was a tragedy. But it had to be done to accomplish the good that was clearly the plan of God all along.
So I guess I’m that funny kind of person who understands that the shadow proves the sunshine. No one wants the bad and everyone tries to scurry away from it (including me) , but in all circumstances there is opportunity to grow and learn and change and become more Christ-like.
I’m so very grateful that the world God created is one that is authentic and real, instead of perfectly plastic. The more I think about it the more excited I get to experience all of it.
Even when I’m going through it, I understand that I’m feeling this pain for a reason and on the other side of it I will be better for it. If I don’t let myself get bitter. If I look to His leadership and lordship in my life.
I read a book once that told me pain and sadness, grief and loneliness were as James 1 says, to be counted as joy. Not because they are joyful times or happy in any way shape or form. But because in those moments of darkness and pain, God is able to do a work in us that was impossible without it. We are stretched, we are challenged, we are made to be desperate at times in order to recognize our need for God.
So be it.