I curled up on my bed after a very long, emotional day in February 2013. Just hours before, I’d learned that the baby we were expecting had died 5 weeks prior. All of my hopes and dreams for this child were gone. I was devastated. Leon curled up next to me.

“If God loves children and values life, why am I having a miscarriage?” I cried loudly to my husband. He wisely didn’t know the answer to that question, so he remained quiet. For the first time I could remember, grief taught me that we can ask God all the questions we want, but we may not find out “why.”

Two nights later, I found myself in a hospital bed crying on a nurse’s shoulder as I tried to make sense of the suffering I was experiencing, and how this just wasn’t fair.

Why do I have to walk through such hard stuff, God?making sense of suffering 2

Three years later, Leon and I were driving home from our first of many trips to Newcastle. It was long, emotional day, and our baby had just been diagnosed with a couple of serious birth defects. At that point all of the defects were reparable by surgery. Yet we still found ourselves asking God “why?” Why would God allow us to have a poorly child?

That day was the first of many times we asked God “why” during our journey with Titus.  Ten months have passed since that first dreadful trip to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. I still ask God why we had to walk such a difficult road with our brave, strong boy. God’s word and my grief are teaching me that we may never find out why. That’s mostly okay because we believe in a sovereign God who knows what He’s doing and He’s working our difficult journey for good.

Recently I came across a verse in Romans that’s all too familiar. In fact, if you’ve been a believer any number of years, you probably know it, too.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28 (NLT)

This verse is often quoted when someone is walking through a hard time, with the comment that God will work your suffering for good. It may be a trite way of saying “everything will be okay in the end.” It might even make a nice greeting card message. But for those who have suffered greatly, we’re left with a paradox–How can this trial, this hard thing I’m walking through be good? How can God work good out of this?

Suffering and good are rarely used in the same sentence.

Have you ever looked at that well-known passage in Romans through the lens of the Cross? It helps us to make sense of our suffering. Jesus suffered the most unimaginable, shameful death. God worked it for good, though. He knew what good would come of His Son’s suffering. His ultimate plan was for Jesus to suffer so we are no longer separated from Him by our sin if we believe.

So if God worked Jesus’ great suffering and death for good, why wouldn’t He work ours for good, too?

If you’re wondering how your suffering could be good, have hope. You may not discover the “why” to your suffering this side of eternity, but you can have faith knowing that God is working it for good.

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