Can God cause good to emerge from suffering?

This article is a short note I made while reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, pages 72-73. I’ve included it here in the hope that others might find it edifying and comforting too. It certainly rang true to me. Here then are my notes:

Several years earlier, Marc had been shoveling snow on his driveway when his wife said she was going to move the car and asked him to watch their young daughter. As the car backed out, they were suddenly thrust into the worst nightmare that parents can imagine: their toddler was crushed beneath a wheel.

Like the African woman, Marc has known what it’s like to hold a dying child in his arms. While I wasn’t able to converse with that grieving mother, I could converse with him. So deep was Marc’s initial despair that he had to ask God to help him breathe, to help him eat, to help him function at the most fundamental level. Otherwise, he was paralyzed by the emotional pain. But he increasingly felt God’s presence, his grace, his warmth, his comfort, and very slowly, over time, his wounds began to heal.

Having experienced God at his point of greatest need, Marc would emerge from this crucible a changed person, abandoning his career in business to attend seminary. Through his suffering – though he never would have chosen it, though it was horribly painful, though it was life-shattering at the time – Marc has been transformed into someone who would devote the rest of life to bringing God’s compassion to others who are alone in their desperation.

In the pulpit for the first time, Marc was able to draw on his own experiences with God in the depths of sorrow. People were captivated because his own loss had given him special insights, empathy, and credibility. In the end, dozens of them responded by saying they too wanted to know this Jesus, this God of tears. Now other hearts were being healed because of Marc’s having been broken. From one couple’s despair emerges new hope for many.

“Sometimes skeptics scoff at the Bible saying that God can cause good to emerge from our pain if we run toward him instead of away from him,” Marc said. “But I’ve watched it happen in my own life. I’ve experienced God’s goodness through deep pain , and no skeptic can dispute that. The God who the skeptic denies is the same God who held our hands in the deep, dark places, who strengthened our marriage, who deepened our faith, who increased our reliance on him, who gave us two more children, and who infused our lives with new purpose and meaning so that we can make a difference to others.”

Now some scripture passages the Lord brought to mind concerning the above that I wanted to share with you:

Come, and let us return unto the Lord:
for he hath torn, and he will heal us;
he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
(Hosea 6:1)

God meets us in our broken places.

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
(Psalm 34:18)

Love is the key:

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
(Galatians 5:6)

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