Overcoming Adversity 101, Pt 5: Is God Good & Loving?- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

Overcoming Adversity 101, Part 5: Is God Good and Loving?

Overcoming Adversity 101, Part 5: Is God Good and Loving?

Many people often assert that God must not be good or loving if He knows ahead of time that a hardship is going to occur…and yet He still allows it to touch their lives.  After all, He could prevent it, couldn’t He?

In moments of extreme pain and sorrow, I’ve had the same impulse reaction. I’ve cried,  “God, you’re not good – you don’t love me – because You didn’t spare me this suffering!”

But this assertion is based upon a definition of “good” that is derived from a finite, temporal perspective. As mentioned in Overcoming Adversity 101, Part 3: The Long Ranger, the difference between humans and animals is great. What we consider to be good for an animal in many cases is something that to them seems harmful (shots, surgery, veterinary care, liberating them from a trap, shooting them with tranquilizers in order to free them from a bad situation, etc.). The difference between us and God is even more vast than that of us and animals. Equally as vast is the difference between what God considers to be good for us and what we consider to be good for our lives.

Take for example parents’ judgment about what is best for their young child. A child might feel it’s in their best interest – and quite good – for them to forego elementary school  and stay home all day every day playing video games and eating ice cream. They simply do not feel that a parent is acting in their best interest when forcing them to attend school, get exercise and eat a balanced diet. The difference between a parent and a child is vast when it comes to what is considered “good” for the child.

Similarly, if I had not known I had an illness that desperately needed treatment, I would have thought many doctors to be terribly evil in their handling of my care.  Cutting me with knives? Sticking me with needles? Taking my blood out and putting it through wicked looking machines…then putting it back into my body?  Forcing me to take medications that made me more sick than it seemed any disease ever could? Good? Are you kidding?

Would a surgeon be more kind and loving if he left a malignant tumor in someone’s body – without the painful effects of surgery or chemotherapy?

God is not evil simply because he allows pain to exist. Ask any doctor, dentist, physical trainer or parent about the benefits of difficulty and pain.

God’s Loving Purposes

Our capacity to benefit from our pain is affected by our understanding of God’s loving purposes for allowing it.

If someone showed up on my doorstep at 5 o’clock in the morning, belligerently ringing my doorbell and forcing me out of bed to lift weights, run laps and seemingly torture my body, I might not indulge them. In fact, I would likely verbally berate them, slam the door in their face, go back to bed and yank the covers over my head as steam whistled out of my ears.

However, if on the other hand I am aware that I am dangerously overweight with multiple health hazards threatening a premature death, my commitment and perseverance would be altogether different. And therefore, so would my benefit.

My mother cannot stand being in the dentist’s chair. Since childhood it has affected her deeply.  It was already difficult for her to ever have dental work done. But this past year, after suffering TIA’s after dental procedures, dental work became an even more frightening scenario. Dental work presented the possibility of stroke. After her first post-dental TIA, she was very reluctant to return for the remainder of her dental work. If she had not been totally convinced it was for her ultimate good, she would not have returned and benefited from the frightening procedures.

Until we reach Heaven, we won’t know every single reason God allowed our specific adversities. However, being reminded of a few of the things God might be accomplishing through them changes our perspective of our current problems.

In the next few posts of this series, we will take a look at a few of God’s loving purposes for allowing our trials.

Questions: In what ways do you believe God’s perspective of your trial might differ from yours? What might be a few of God’s loving purposes for allowing our trials?





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