How Painful Will the Best Be?

“We’re not necessarily doubting
that God will do the best for us;
We are wondering how painful
the best will turn out to be.”
~ C.S. Lewis

I don’t remember where I ran across this quote a while back, but I do remember relating to it immediately.

I thought of it again not long ago when a friend and I were discussing the “pat answers” people sometimes give to those going through hard times…

“Don’t worry; God is in control.”
“God is working everything out for good.”
“God will protect them.”

There is nothing wrong with those phrases. They are very true. And sometimes they are actually encouraging.:-) The trouble is, as some have experienced, despite the fact that they are *true*, there are times when they aren’t necessarily *comforting*…at least at first glance.

From childhood, one of my favorite verses was Romans 8:28:

“And we know that God causes
all things to work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.”

It is still one of my favorite verses. But over the years, I have realized that God’s definition of “good” and mine are not always the same. In fact, they are often *very* different.

As a child, I blithely believed that that verse meant that although I might be unhappy about the circumstances of the moment, God would give a happy ending. As I got older, I developed at least a head knowledge that those endings wouldn’t always necessarily be happy, although they would be good for us.

Three years ago this week, we encountered a situation that I couldn’t see as good in ANY way, shape, or form. After the initial shock subsided a bit, I began to argue with God…to throw verses about His sovereignty, His goodness, His protection, and His love back in His face. I struggled with everything I had ever been taught, with everything that three years ago *today* I would have said I believed with all my heart.

I still have a hard time labeling that situation as “good”. And yet, as I posted here, God has taught me all over again, in a much deeper, more certain way, that what His word says is TRUE…no matter how hard it is to understand sometimes. I have learned to see that what Satan intends for evil, God intends for good. (Gen. 50:20) I have learned that no matter HOW painful the situation, God’s plan is still “best” for us.

I can truly say that I am thankful for that “best” even when that “best” comes nowhere close to the “happy endings” I imagined as a child. I wouldn't give up the things God has taught me about Himself and His Word through this situation for anything. The deeper, more intimate relationship with Him...not only for us, but that we are beginning to see in our children...is worth all of the pain of the last three years.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this quote in the comments!

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Denise Hughes said...

Wow. The timing of your post couldn't be more apropos. My six-year-old daughter just memorized Romans 8:28 in her Sunday school class. And I can appreciate your distinction between God's "best" for us and "happy endings" - which we learn all too soon are not necessarily the same thing - at least not as we think of "happy endings" on this earth. Thank you for hosting IOW this week.
Denise Hughes :)

Tami Boesiger said...

God is faithful, all the time, even when we can't see it.

Thanks for the good quote, Jennifer, and for hosting.

t marie said...

I didn't realize today was the anniversary. I want you to know that seeing how you have grown over the last 3 years has been remarkable and quite a blessing.

Your words rang true to my heart for the season I am experiencing now. Thank you my beloved friend.

Denise said...

Bless you for this.

Jennifer said...

t...the anniversary is actually Thursday...that wasn't very clear in my haste to tie things up this morning. :) I know you are going through one of those seasons now, where it's hard to see the "best"...and I so just want the "happy ending" for you!! Praying that God will give you peace in His best...love you!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, ladies! Hosting has been fun...I just can't believe I overslept! *blush* I am so enjoying reading everyone's takes on the quote...Lots of good reminders I needed to read this week. Thank you all for participating!

MiPa said...

What an awesome quote and great thoughts to ponder. Bless you for hosting and for sharing.

Karen said...

That was really great. Been there and done that. Throwing out some of God's truth as things that must not pertain to me and MY situation. God and I had a long talk and I don't think that way any more :) Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for hostessing this week and for the quote you chose. It is neat to see how God worked it out, on this date for you . . . for you to honor & glorify Him, even when this day might be hard. Thank you for sharing it and yourself with us today.


Debbie said...

I'm glad I came back. Your words in this post spoke to me. Right now, I am experiencing a time of difficulty and friends seem to try to offer words of comfort. But I find sometimes inside I feel angry by their well meaning words. And then I feel terrible about myself. For me, it helps to have a friend come alongside me and say I may not understand but I'm here for you and I'll pray for you.

Thank you for hosting and sharing this message from your heart.

Patricia said...

Thanks I needed this quote this week.