Ever had a bad day and wonder, “Am I being punished?” Then spend a lot of time over analyzing all the “signs” to figure out what the series of unfortunate events could mean?
This is my life.
I clearly think too much. But I have come to realize the more I try to figure everything out, the more unsettled it makes me. A scripture in Romans brings this to light but is often misunderstood:
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 NIV)
If God works all things out for the “good”, then my favorite shoes wouldn’t get stolen. Or my dishwasher shouldn’t break when I have a newborn. Or my daughter, who is clearly reacting to having a new baby brother, would stop her attention-seeking behavior, see the joy of having a sibling, and return to her non-evil self. That would be “the good” in my mind.
I love this quote from John Piper:
Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart.
It’s a shift of mindset. The “good” in any situation is to help our character be more like Christ. The “good” is to get to heaven. Of course God likes when we’re happy but he’s more concerned if we are holy.
The other day, when my dish washer broke, I was slightly annoyed. I have a newborn, a toddler and my in-laws staying with us soon. But I considered for a moment how it could glorify God. I thought about having a joyful spirit about it all would be glorifying. I thought about how fortunate I am to even have a dishwasher to break. I also thought about the people I will meet because of this situation and the possibility to share my faith with them.
Now my example is pretty trivial. However, if you’ve experienced something negative recently, ask yourself how this experience could glorify God and see if your mood doesn’t naturally lift.