If you are a Christian then you have probably heard someone tell you, “Everything will work out for His good purpose,” during times of trial and difficulty. If you’re like me then you have said it to yourself during those times as well. Again, if your like me, you have probably even said it to someone else to ease their pain, or at least try to. Let’s be honest, most of the time it really doesn’t work. Not to take away from the true biblical principal that this statement represents, in fact pretty much verbatim from the scriptures (Romans 8), the truth is that most of us don’t really understand it. We say it a lot and hope that it will one day manifest itself to be true in our faith journey but if we really wanted to be honest with ourselves we would admit to questions this fact.
How many times have you asked, “What good could possibly come from this?” I must have asked this a million times by now. Usually as a response to my own futile attempts at comforting myself with this truth. I am sure that some people out there actually get comfort from this, but I would have to argue that most people just don’t find their comfort, mostly (I believe) because it is hard to see how anything good can come from our suffering or from the suffering of someone we love.
This morning I stumbled across a little passage in Matthew. I have read it many times, but today was a bit different. Maybe because I asked the question while sitting up all night (Like literally all night, didn’t fall asleep until my alarm went off at 5:30am) wondering what good can come from my family’s current situation. As I ate my eggs and bacon I decided to read Matthew until I was done. Here is what I read that hit me right between the eyes:
16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.”Matthew 2:16-18
I saw the scene vividly in my head. A family sleeping huddled together on blankets covering the dirt floor. So still, so peaceful, as the children lay dreaming of the games played earlier in that day, a mother lays awake watching her little one sleep as she admires the gift of God in her arms. Suddenly the door is kicked in and soldiers yielding torches rush in and snatch that beautiful sleeping boy from the loving arms of his mother. Disoriented screams of horror and confusion fill the moonlit air of the city as soldier take all babies under the age of two and slay them in their home and drop them on the floor dead in front of their families. Nothing can be done, for this is an order of the king. Here is where the question arises, “What good can possibly come of this?”
These people may never have had the answer to this question, but we do. See the good that happened wasn’t necessarily directly related to the wellbeing any specific family, but what had just happened was a result of the Lord and Savior of the universe being born.
So what good could come of this? Well, salvation is what. The thing I took away from this is that even though we may never see the good that came as a result of suffering, the truth is that God’s plan is truly bigger than our understanding. It was thirty years later that this little baby’s birth which caused this tragic event in history turned out to be pretty good for the rest of the world, and ultimately those families as well. So the next time someone tells me to trust in God’s will and His plan, I can look back and be confident that the suffering of those whom I love is going to serve some greater purpose somewhere in the universe.