Abraham Wright once wrote, “I am mended by my sickness, enriched by my poverty, and strengthened by my weakness."
It’s been circulating through my mind lately that perhaps when Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 that the Lord works all things for our good, perhaps the good isn’t an objective. Perhaps the good isn’t a place we will arrive at. Perhaps the good isn’t the absence of the affliction. Sometimes the good is the struggle, the shaping, the molding, and the journey. After all, we are being made fit for Heaven, not being perfected here on earth. This world, and this earthly body, are not our home and not our forever. This life is the journey, in its entirety. Even when we receive the outcomes we are hoping for, the outcomes we perceive as the victory, we still won’t be entirely satisfied until we reach heaven.
His goodness is apparent in that He works all things together for our good. He takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful. Sometimes a specific resolution to our problems we are asking for is not the victory. Sometimes the victory is God’s ability as the Master Potter to take something terrible in our lives and use it for our good. He intercepts the enemy’s attacks and uses them to shape us, not destroy us. What the enemy intended for our destruction, He used for our good. He wins the victory over the enemy, He stays near to us when we are broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18), and He continues to mold and shape us. Sometimes, more than the outcome we desire, or the miraculous healing, or the immediate resolution, we need the journey with Him. There have been times when I have struggled with my physical health, and while I walked through those valley seasons, He strengthened my spiritual and emotional health and I have learned so much during those times that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, and when the healing did come, not in my timeline but His, I was whole, truly whole, and not just my earthly body.
It is in these moments that our confidence in His goodness as our Father is imperative, and our trust in Him is essential. Many times I’ve been convicted by the Holy Spirit for losing hope and faith in the Lord and His ability to work in my situation, and even becoming angry with Him, because He didn’t work in the way I wanted Him to. “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).
Jesus said to Peter when Peter asked Him why He was washing his feet: “What I'm doing you don't understand now, but afterwards you will know.” I’ve read in multiple commentaries that this is something the Christian can take comfort in in any place where we see through the glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12). I believe that is why over and over again we are encouraged to look to the hills, to keep our eyes on Jesus. We focus so much on our earthly surroundings, the valleys and the peaks, but no matter where we are, we can still enter His presence. We can still enjoy this journey with our Friend who sticks closer than a brother. We can still count on Him to continue to work all things together for our good while we rest in our hope in Him. His past faithfulness demands our present trust.