We learn from trials. There’s no denying that. Often time we see good coming out of difficult situations. But sometimes our observation results in wrong conclusions about the nature and purpose of trials in our lives. We think that He orchestrates the pain or the trials we go through in order to teach us lessons. We go through trials and feel His comfort, and mistakenly think that He created the trial so we could know His love. But God is not like that.
When my niece, Natalia, was around 5, when she came to visit she always wanted to eat scrambled eggs and avocado. It became a predictable pattern. And, of course, I would make that meal for her. She was getting to that point of feeling like a “big girl” and she wanted to help with the cooking. So I wanted to start teaching her some basics. I pulled a chair next to the stove and gave her very clear instructions not to touch anything except the fork with which she was supposed to scramble her eggs. My mistake was forgetting that our glass-top stove would turn black as soon as the burner was off, but the surface was still hot. We removed the skillet and she saw me turn the burner off, and excitedly put her hand on the surface to reach for something else. You can imagine what happened next. Amid her screams, crying and tears, I felt so badly! Fortunately we had some burn cream at home, and some bandages. Kerry immediately rendered first-aid while I held her, trying to comfort her. After some time the pain subsided and the small blisters seemed to be under control. I took the opportunity to teach her about the glass-top stove, and how to prevent future occurrences of that very bad experience. I am glad to say she bears no scars from that experience; but she did learn a lesson.
Was it a valuable lesson? Of course! Did her parents and I want her to learn not to touch hot things? Yes. Did I intend for her to burn her hand for her to learn that lesson? Of course not! I’m not a child abuser! I love my niece! Did I create that experience so she would feel my comfort and learn that I love her? That would be absurd! And yet, sometimes we think that God works that way toward us.
But Jesus says that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. In other words, we can know what the Father does (or doesn’t do) by looking at Jesus. Did Jesus ever make anyone sick? Did He ever put someone in a difficult situation to teach him a lesson? Did Jesus ever take things away from people to draw them to the Father? Of course not! On the contrary, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, because God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). He went about doing good! That is the heart of the Father.
We live in a broken world, where we will experience difficulties. When we go through trials, God – being the good Father He is – will use those for our benefit: whether teaching us a lesson, revealing His love, comfort or peace, opening avenues of ministry, or whatever.
So let’s be clear about this: God is never the author of destruction. But when we give Him the pieces of our lives, He works something beautiful out of them. He doesn’t create the trials, but He can certainly make something good come from them. So we can confidently praise Him for His goodness.
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2015