Suffering for My Own Good

woman in prayerThis week marked seven full years since we signed the papers to begin an international adoption. How long, O Lord? How long until you grant my heart’s request? How can seven years of waiting for another child be a good thing? I have mourned because more children have not been given me. I have been jealous for the children that were given to others. My anger towards God has been lashed out on those I love. Left to my own devices, all my sinful desires would be fulfilled. I would be surrounded by false idols and eventually loathe all things.

However, the Lord has blessed me numerous times. In the past seven years, I have been part of a trio that brings joy to residents in nursing homes. My husband and I have been able to coach our daughter’s softball team together. The Lord has allowed me to sing the faithful hymns with 300 other Lutheran women at a district gathering. During the long wait, I have traveled with Katie and shared the joys and burdens of barrenness with others. If we had been traveling to China right now, I would have missed the funeral of a beloved friend. If December had taken us to our newest daughter, I would not have been able to sing the Christmas hymns with our Sunday School children.

Suffering never feels good. How could it? God never deigned for man to suffer. Our sinful nature grabs hold of us and strives to push us away from our loving Lord. The devil tempts me to think that I have endured more than my share of suffering. Satan would lead me to turn my back on God. The truth is that I should endure the torture of eternal hell. In my sin I have turned my back on God.

Jesus, though, has come to my rescue. He has endured suffering and death in my place. I don’t have to suffer eternal punishment for my sin. As a baptized child of God, I can face suffering and know that Jesus has endured far worse. The Lord has used (and is still using) my suffering to remind me that He knows what is best for me. I know with certainty that the Lord loves me and is using my suffering for good. The Lord has used the past seven years to remind me that He works all things for my eternal good.

a hymn of comfort

What God ordains is always good: He is my friend and Father;

He suffers naught to do me harm Though many storms may gather.

Now I may know Both joy and woe;

Someday I shall see clearly

That He has loved me dearly.

Lutheran Service Book 760:4