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Embracing the Good

Endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. — 2 Timothy 2:3, 7

It isn’t natural to look for good in bad. It’s far more human, when bad rears its ugly head, to gaze upon it stymied. But when we believe that God designs and redesigns all things for our good, even when the intent of others is for our demise, it allows us to let them off the hook and look up. Our task is to detect and embrace the good, which means we will have to be alert and discerning if we are to benefit from the windbreaker of gratitude.

I’m not thankful when my heart is broken, yet I’m grateful that through internal ruptures comes a deeper compassion for others who grieve. I had no idea how unaware and indifferent I was toward the agony of others until I suffered through a season of intense winds and came out of that time with enhanced sensitivity. It wasn’t that I hadn’t cared about others; I just didn’t have a clue what their struggles were costing them until hardships exacted a high price from me.

Someone once said, “We can only know joy to the degree we have known pain.” Hardships have the potential of carving out greater space for God’s grace within us. And grace helps us to live with life’s inequities without the disabling residuals of anger, bitterness, and disillusionment.

— Patsy Clairmont

Excerpted from A Grand New Day © 2008 by Thomas Nelson. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.


TALK BACK: “We can only know joy to the degree we have known pain.” Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not?

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Comments

  1. 4 years ago
    Linda says

    There is truth to that statement, but I knew joy, before heartbreak, and I don’t think I was reckless or ungrateful for joy. But after 2 years of great heartbreak and tragedy, I was getting tired of looking for the good in the hard stuff. March 2008, my newborn grandson died. Absolutely heartbroken, not just for the too soon death, but also for my daughter and her new husband, I couldn’t prevent my daughter from going through this. November 2009, Horrific car accident, the girl that slid into us died instantly, my daughter, same one who lost her son, almost bled to death, her 6 month old baby was fine, and I had broken bones, but not to the degree she did. 2 months she was in a wheelchair, and a year later is still recovering from those injuries, as I am. Grateful to be alive, absolutely. May 2010, another new born grandson died, they tell us our family has a very rare gene that causes these babies to have nonfunctioning kidneys. They discover this at the first ultrasound. Devastated once again. I don’t know why we are chosen for these journeys. Yes, we have grown in faith, and yes, we have seen many miracles along the way. But I honestly think God could have gotten our attention in other ways.. we love Him, serve Him, read His word, and yet I know suffering is because we live in a fallen world, and much of what we go through won’t make sense until we are in heaven. So yes, there is truth in that statement, but we can know joy without heartbreak. Having experienced both, I still do not understand, and am a little upset, that as a family, we had to walk this journey. Yes, there is peace in His arms,and yet many Christians are judgemental, telling us we must not have prayed right, or that we must have hidden sin, or it must be because of generational sin, what ever happened to Christians being kind and loving, and caring.. even if there are no easy answers?

    • 4 years ago
      jenna says

      Linda,
      I read your post and my heart went out to you and your family. On the fourth of July my husband and miscarried our first child, it was… The worst experience of my life; Having said that I can only imagine the pain your family has faced, and I just praise God that your and your daughter and her 6month old came away from the car accident, with injuries that will heal with time. Linda please know that I will be praying for you and your family. I also wanted to leave you with a verse that has calmed my heart when I felt it splitting apart     “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
      God Bless,

  2. 4 years ago
    Cynthia says

    “Be still and know that I am God” Powerful words my Jesus reminds me each day when I allow the pain from the loss of my son to consume me. As I was going through his things I tearfully held them remembering the events attached to his many treasures that were special to him then God showed me a revelation, On January 11, 1990, Aaron was a gift from God born naked and on May 7, 2009 He was taken to heaven to be God’s gift. Material things are not what matters. God knew the day he allowed me to birth him that in 19 years he would go home for eternity. He loved Jesus and talked of heaven as if he had already been there. In my darkest moments God speaks to my heart and reminds me of his promises and I rejoice that I know I will see my son again in heaven and there we will live eternally with our Savior. My void is filled with the wisdom to be still and know that God is God.

  3. 4 years ago
    Heidi says

    I disagree. Think about the joy that children have, even though they haven’t endured great pain. Job wasn’t exactly joyful during his attack, but he did persevere and never denied the Lord. If the result of pain is joy, than there wouldn’t be bitter people who have lost their faith because the pain was overwhelming. Joy is one of the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit, thereby not being a result of pain.

  4. 4 years ago
    Wanda says

    Yes, it totally goes against the grain to find any good in a painfully bad situation. However, if we look at things from the perspective of our “loving” Heavenly Father, we know that the “bad” does indeed yield a bumper crop of “growth” that otherwise wouldn’t have manifested itself had we not suffered that heartache or heartbreaking circumstance. From the account of Job, we know that any circumstance, whether good or bad, first must go through the Father before it’s allowed to enter our earthly sphere. I guess when we think of it in that context, we can begin to start embracing all that’s good, even when it appears bad.

  5. 4 years ago
    Alice Christianson says

    Yes I agree with the statement. As I have gone through some valleys I find more compassion for those in a valley. Also when I was in need of love and compassion in those valleys it was those who had walked a rough road who had compassion, others did not even realize their lack of compassion. It also seems as we learn to walk in the difficult times God allows us to come along side someone else later on who is also walking a similar difficult time, be it rejection, grief, misunderstood, laying down a dream , loss of a child or parent or friend to something there are many needing compassion without judgement.

  6. 4 years ago
    Lynn Arnold says

    I agree…It is through my pain, that God has taken the opportunity to show me the depth of his love. Knowing the depth of his love when I was hurting changed me forever. Francis De Sales…a great theologian says that “true devotion of God leads us to accept pleasure and pain with a heart that is nearly always the same, and it fills us with a marvelous sweetness”. (That is paraphrased.) I’ve found that through my struggles…the results only bring me joy, dependence on God and goodness to my life.

  7. 4 years ago
    Darlene Hacker says

    Joy occurs in the heart when we embrace (realize) who and what our Saviour has done for us and His intense love for us.
    The more I see JESUS,who He is and What He has accomplished for me the more joy I experience.
    He who is forgiven of much and realizes it will love his forgiver much!
    Embracing His love for me brings great joy to my heart!!!

  8. 4 years ago
    Carrie Neumeister says

    After a failed marriage of 13 years, and dealing with tremendous suffering from mental/emotional/verbal abuse, the Lord has brought me through to the end of MY rainbow finally. My children and I were able to get through our hardships and the joy I feel now is so indescribable! I know that problems will always occur, but it wasn’t until recently that I have obtained that wonderful inner peace and strength that He gives me to get through anything and everything. A greater joy is to know that absolutely NOONE can ever take that away from me! God is good all the time!

  9. 4 years ago
    Amy Stoddard says

    The more one suffers, the more one appreciates. If you always have sunny skies and never any rain, how could you ever receive the blessing of the beautiful rainbow after the storm?
    So I say: Jesus, bring the rain, for I know on the other side other storm is the magnificent rainbow you have promised!

  10. 4 years ago
    Loretta Pearson says

    I agree, the more you have been through the more you understand other’s pain and appreciate the good and joyful things in life. I think pain stretches the heart to hold more joy and helps us appreciate the good in life.

  11. 4 years ago
    Melinda says

    I totally agree with this statement! I, too, did not understand the depth of others’ pain before I went through my own struggles of losing my mom and being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Through the grace of God, I have become a much more compassionate and patient person towards others. There affirmation when you connect with others who are going through the same kind of pain. As well as connecting with others in different stages of life to gain perspective on your particular journey. When Patsy spoke at our WOV conference, I easily connected with and embraced her words of wisdom because I have been through similar struggles. What a wonderful thing God designed when he created the Church and communities of believers. Thanks, Patsy, for this week’s insight! God bless!

  12. 4 years ago
    Teresita Simons says

    I agree with the statement because when you have gone through pain you look back and feel the joy of His unending love because he healed you. HE IS A HEALER. Alleluia!

  13. 4 years ago
    Nancy Barrow says

    I totally agree with your statement! I knew incredible pain in my failed marriage at year 18 – I accepted Christ, began to walk in His ways in my relationship – my husband then accepted Christ and began to walk in His ways – we just recently celebrated 32 years as a “stranded cord of 3″ – without that intense pain and feeling of loss, I would never have found my Lord OR my husband! Once we are emptied of ourselves in great pain – there is suddenly room for god.