Perhaps the greatest test of whether we believe Romans 8:28—“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”—is to identify the very worst things that have happened to us, then ask if we believe that in the end God will somehow use them for our good.
Fold a paper in half. Then write on the top half the worst things that have happened to you and on the bottom half the best.
Invariably, if you’ve lived long enough, if enough time has passed since some of those “worst things” happened to you, then you’ll almost certainly find an overlap. Experiences labeled as the worst things that ever happened, over time become some of the best. That’s because God uses the painful, difficult experiences of life for our ultimate good.
How is this possible? Because God is both loving and sovereign. Our lists provide persuasive proof that while evil and suffering are not good, God can use them to accomplish immeasurable good. This knowledge should give us great confidence that even when we don’t see any redemptive meaning in our suffering, God can see it—and one day we will too. Therefore, we need not run from suffering or lose hope if God doesn’t remove it. We can trust that God has a purpose for whatever He permits.
In this video, my friend Steve Keels and I answer the question, “Is my suffering pointless?”