It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
Triumph in Tragedy
God can take tragedy in our life and turn it into triumph. Just look at the cross to see how evil turned out for exceedingly good in regard to our salvation. Joseph told his brothers that they meant him harm or evil, but God intended it to bring much good (Gen. 50:20). Every one of us will experience, go through, or know of someone who has experienced tragedy in life. The question is what are we to learn from it? God never wastes our pain (Rom. 8:28). Can you recall an event when you or someone you know or heard about experienced a great tragedy in life but it made them or you stronger? Maybe the tragic death of someone changed our life. Maybe a horrific, nearly fatal accident made us rearrange our priorities in life. Whatever the case, we can actually be blessed from bad things that happen to us, or, as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Do you believe that?
Suffering Produces Endurance
Paul knew a lot about suffering, and next to Christ, I don’t believe anyone else suffered like he did. Paul endured hunger, cold, beatings, stonings, imprisonments, and exceedingly hard work (2 Cor. 6:5; 11:27), but he knew, like Peter did, that suffering produces in us a glory for God and for His purposes (1 Pet. 5:1). Paul somehow was able to rejoice in his sufferings because he knew it would produce endurance (Rom. 5:3), of which he had much. In fact, when we suffer, we share in some of Christ’s suffering (Phil. 3:10), although certainly not to the same extent. Through Jesus’ suffering, He was able to bring us to eternal life and not only us but many other brothers and sisters (Heb. 2:10).
God’s Purposes for Our Suffering
Every tragedy that happens in our life is not intended to defeat us but to make us stronger. God never brings suffering or loss to our life indiscriminately (Lam. 3:33), but afflictions, suffering, and even personal tragedy can often bring us into a closer, more personal relationship with Him (Psalm 119:67, 71). The question is what will we do with our pain or tragedy? Will it be wasted and make us bitter or make us better and be used for God’s ultimate purpose for our life (Rom. 8:28)? For many whom I have spoken with, it has turned out to be the greatest blessing of their life. They turned tragedy into triumph like Jesus was able to at the cross. Can we see the blessings out of tragedies? Can we understand that we are being refined by the fires of this life and that no matter what we suffer in this life, it cannot compare with the glory that’s coming (Rom 8:18)?
A Closing Prayer
God, I cannot always see what You are doing through my pain, suffering, and tragedies, but I know that You are sovereign over everything that happens and nothing happens that is not without a purpose of Yours, so help me to trust You more. In the glorious name of Jesus I pray.
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