One wonderfully encouraging passage in the New Testament is Romans 8:28-29. This verse is one that we’ve all doubtlessly leaned upon. In verse 28 Paul said, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” What a great promise for God’s people. God can and God does enter into life’s horrible, scary situations to bring good out of them. This isn’t some peripheral thing or an activity that was limited to the first century. God does this all the time. (An accident happens and there’s spiritual restoration. A death occurs and a family is reunited. There is a diagnosis and relationships are mended.) It’s beautiful to watch as God, the master Creator, takes dark-broken-painful situations that have gone off the rails and “works them for good.” This is God now!
A couple of words of caution: 1) The promise isn’t that you will necessarily see it or that it will even happen during your life. It’s conceivable that God could do His work, yet the final score not be settled until eternity. For instance, a parent may pass and THEN the son decides to turn his life around. 2) Saying that God can fix a broken situation is far different from saying He caused or orchestrated it. We live in a fallen world. If you’re a believer, don’t allow the devil to deceive you to blame God for all the pain in your life.
It seems to me that Jesus, who is the full expression of God (Heb. 1:3) should be the template for our picture of God. How did Jesus look at suffering? Wasn’t the identifying mark of His personal ministry the fact that he was countering and alleviating pain, suffering, disability and disease? (Mt. 11:4-5) Doesn’t it make sense then for us to look at suffering and pain the way that Jesus viewed such?
It’s my conviction that God can and does turn bad to good; He doesn’t arbitrarily make good-willed believers suffer–and Jesus is the source for our view of suffering. Much more could be said, but at the end of the day, God’s got it. Thank God that He is on our side!