Awhile back I struggled hard with that old question “why do bad things happen to good people.”  I felt like the rug had been pulled out from underneath me and instead of running to God for comfort, I sat in the corner and pouted like a spoiled child.  I’m sure you know the feeling.

sanctification why the bad stuff happens

Prayers for Kylie, God’s Little Warrior

I follow a little girl on FBland named Kylie.  In July, the parents of little Kylie were facing some hard decisions.  This poor little girl has a rare form of cancer and has had too many close calls.  Right now she’s going through a whole lot of stuff in that her brain had swelled and they had to take a portion of her skull out to relieve the swelling, but because the radiation has left her skin so thin and brittle, her head wounds will not heal.  She is currently in the PICU again.

Back in July, Kylie started chemo again and her mom wrote this:

If there wasn’t bad, how would we know good? If there was nothing ever to be angry or sad about, how would we know what happy was? We would be selfish, cold-hearted and greedy. What would make our hearts love and be soft? How would we know compassion for others? We wouldn’t. God uses these situations to show the world his works and his love. Nothing in life is coincidence but everything happening has a greater purpose.

Then she went on to quote a passage out of the Bible:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – John 9:1-5

Emphasis mine.

If we didn’t know pain we wouldn’t know love.

A few nights ago I had some trouble sleeping and I was rereading some old emails and texts from friends regarding a particularly low point in my life.  Enough time has passed so the dark cloud that once shrouded my life has lifted, mostly.  Yet, I could hear the anguish in my words and I cried in reading them.  I remember the pain.  I remember the hurt.  I remember the darkness.  One might wonder why a person would go through that exercise in reliving it and I have no real reason.  I think it’s no different than reliving the birth of a child or the death of a loved one.  Sometimes your heart just goes places.  Rather than just ignoring it, I allowed the feelings to shower over me and then the sun rose again.  It is no different than deciding to sit in and watch a tear jerker…  you know what you are in for and yet you do it anyway.

I recognized a few things in the exercise.  One was that I have an amazing little family.  When grief struck, my husband and children were the best.  My little ones, even though they didn’t know what was going on, were loving with me and tender.  My husband also really shined in those moments.  I am very blessed that God picked these particular individuals for me to share my life with.

Another thing is that I have some amazing girlfriends and family.  The words of love and compassion were comforting and I remember all of the hugs and phone calls.  I should never ever question, and I don’t, if I am loved.

The final thing, and most important, is sanctification.  I touched on this term a few posts ago.

Sanctify means:

  1. to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate.
  2. to purify or free from sin.
  3. to impart religious sanction to; render legitimate or binding.
  4. to entitle to reverence or respect.
  5. to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing.

sanctification why the bad stuff happens.In dealing with trials, we are being sanctified.  I think of it in terms of a silversmith.  Think of yourself as the iron being placed in the fire.  The craftsman takes the iron out of the fire, beats it, shapes it and puts it in the fire again.  This process happens a few times until the iron is placed in the cool water and the piece is finished.

There is something that happens to a person when they walk through the fire…  well something SHOULD happen.  They should NOT come out on the other side bitter and jealous of other people who have not had to endure.  They should NOT come out self-righteous that God chose some hard trial for their life.  They should NOT remain in the corner pouting like a child.

What should happen is that a person’s eyes are open to the amount of love they receive.  Just like for little Kylie and what Jesus said, sometimes things happen so His works are displayed THROUGH you.  Your trials may happen so other people can show you His love or just for them  to spread His love.  It’s that act of giving and receiving love.  THIS IS WHY it is important to SHARE.  You are not allowing people to fulfill the spreading of love if they don’t know that there is a call for it.

In “Trusting God Even When Life Hurts” Jerry Bridges wrote:

If we are to really help another person in his or her time of adversity, we must also encourage that person.  To encourage is to fortify another with the spiritual and emotional strength to persevere in times of adversity.

he goes on to say:

Only to the extent that we ourselves have been comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit through His Word will we be able to comfort and encourage others.  Adversity in our own lives, rightly responded to, enables us to be instruments of comfort and encouragement to others.

By opening up to others, you are allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them to you.

One very important thing that also should happen as you walk through the fire, is leaning into God’s love.  It is a weird dynamic, to experience these so very hard times in life and rely on God and know He’s there…  because when you are dealing with immense anguish and pain, it is hard to feel Him.  It is a very frustrating dynamic indeed.

Again, Bridges writes:

… adversity enhances the teaching of God’s word and makes it more profitable to us.  In some instances it clarifies our understanding or causes us to see truths we had passed over before.  At other times, it will transform ‘head knowledge’ into ‘heart knowledge.’

Trials in life, whether it be loss of loved ones, loss of a job, failed marriages, sickness, struggles raising children; while these are not fun things to experience and given choices, I’m sure we would pick much easier things in life to deal with (Oh, vacation to a beach?  Yes, please.  Thank you very much!).  Yet, there is so much to be gained and learned from in these trials.  Our persona, our personality, our character is shaped by these trials AND by the way in which we conduct ourselves through it.

So, if you’re in for a rocky road ahead, grab the good book and reach out to your friends.  Let the sanctification begin…