But what is it about us that tends to see God in the good, and view Him as absent in the bad? It's not just kids who only identify God's work with the good things that happen. We grown-up children of God do the same thing. We say that God caused us to find a new job, but that He allowed us to lose the old one. There's an underlying assumption that God is only involved when things happen the way we want them to. If things aren't to our liking, or our lives are hard, we view God as a little distant. He's sitting back and allowing circumstances to run their course. Where is God when the team loses and the vacation is cancelled because Dad broke his ankle last week?
God is always in control. He's as much in control of the good as He is of the bad. And many times, though it exceeds our human ability to comprehend this, His blessings are indeed painful. He gives us every "good and perfect gift" with our ultimate good, not our immediate happiness, in mind. He is a loving and infinitely wise Father. He desires children who mature into the likeness of His Son, not underdeveloped kids who spend their days in complacent play.
In the end, God will "wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 21:4) and set everything right as He desired it to be from the time of His creation, but for now, in this fallen world, He gives us the gift of suffering. And it's a gift because it leads to glory. The greater the suffering the greater the opportunity for becoming a person the Lord can use mightily for His purposes. We are "heirs of God...IF indeed we suffer with Him." (Romans 8:17, emphasis mine) We are called to be "conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) Being conformed into a shape so unlike our natural state has got to hurt. We have to be squeezed and molded and scraped until, slowly and painfully, the image of Christ begins to emerge in our lives.
Our Father works in the good times and in the bad. He uses both our happiness and our pain to teach us and change us. I want to grow into a person who can say, like Joseph, that those things that seem "evil" are actually meant by God "for good," (Genesis 50:20) seeing God's hand in all circumstances.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us...
we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."