How to Allow Suffering To Be Used For Good

Sometime after I had arrived home from Europe I was reminded of the unpleasant suffering I had lived through.  The memory was not for me but for a fellow sufferer.

You would not believe that it is possible to find someone who is going through exactly the same trauma that you have been through yourself.  And when you do, what should the outcome be?

It is how I met Mary.  She was sitting at the table in the kitchen of the weekend retreat where we both were.  She did not lift her head to answer questions, just mumbled through her arms, where her head was resting.

After morning tea I suggested that we could go for a walk through the picturesque grounds that surrounded the accommodation.  Walking along she began to talk about her current situation, and then stopped … mid sentence.  I instantly finished the sentence for her, upon which she turned to me and said, “You really understand, don’t you?”

I replied, “Yep.  Been there.  Done that.”  It is not that I was proud of the way I had been living at that time, but I guess, Mary needed to know that she was not the only one.  From that point on, her conversation became more fluid and more detailed.  I understood perfectly.

You see, Mary had only spoken to therapists, who know all the theory but have not lived it.  Mary was now confronted with someone, me, who did not just understand, but who had been through the same situation.  It was the beginning of her release from the situation, and her recovery over all.

This was such a good reminder that even our past is subject to the Word that God gives us in the Bible.  It clearly says, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him …” Rom. 8:28.  This includes the past when we did not even recognise the goodness of God.

So, if you are one of the people who think that you are beyond God’s goodness, let me tell you that you are wrong.  God’s love pours his goodness onto anybody who comes to him.

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