The lived Christian life shows us that some of the things we think are harmful are actually intended as good, to grow us up.
Here are six of those hard life events, that, though they’re hard situations that feel harmful, they end up doing us no harm at all:
1. Loss — in all its myriad forms — the grief in losing a precious loved one does us no harm. In fact, it’s inevitable. Loss doesn’t have to define us, but it should refine us, bringing us to a knowledge of our own limitedness of capacity of control over this life. Our griefs should facilitate memorials to our losses, for true healing only comes when we’ve memorialised what we’ve lost, and who we couldn’t love more and anymore. See how, despite the pain of loss, it does us no harm, and actually does us some good? Indeed, loss is the common experience of all. A healed grief makes it possible to thank God for what we once had. That’s a deeper learning in the destiny of every life under God.
2. Change — involving its own varietals of loss, for what’s gone and what’s new, that must now be adjusted to — brings no harm in and of itself. The more we change and adapt to, the more we realise we can do change, and such a knowledge is the epitome of empowerment. If change can’t kill our courage, nothing can. Adapting to change brings us no harm at all, even though it takes both faith and patience in the adjustment. Change is actually healthy, long-term, because what’s embraced makes for joy; a well-earned reprieve from the monotony of life.
3. Rejection — sooner or later, some massive rejection will come our way. It rocks our world, and we experience myriad levels of grief. But rejection does us no harm if we remember that, the most important person, God Incarnate Himself, is the only One, whilst we’re alive, who would never reject us. To this we put all other rejections in context, and we find that human rejection can no longer decimate us like it did. Rejection, in the light of Christ’s acceptance, only makes us stronger, and it does us no harm at all.
4. Anxiety — never killed us. Feeling anxious is the common lot of humanity, and, though some are afflicted with anxiety disorders, it is God’s opportunity for everyone to learn each individual’s coping. We cannot learn resilience without being placed in that fire of anxiousness. So, without anxiousness we couldn’t learn coping or how to overcome our weakness in His strength. See how anxiety is good?
5. Missing Out — this is something that often causes anxiety, for none of us want to miss out on a single thing. But the fact is, we must miss out on some things, because we cannot do it all. Every day we miss out, and in many ways. And God’s design for such a state is we would see that covetousness is a sin that kills joy for greed. It does us no harm to miss out. Indeed, it does us good to miss out every single day of our lives. In missing out is peace.
6. Hard Work — there are seasons in life where we have to work especially hard just to stay afloat. Then, if we’re really fortunate, we come to understand that a willingness to work hard is the virtue of diligence that will evermore protect us. Diligence is a shelter. Hard work does us no harm, and indeed it teaches us how to do life the supreme way! — to experience joy even in the midst of enduring difficulty.
The principle remains the same from birth to death: many situations we inwardly despise may actually be outwardly good for us. We learn this as we merge endurance with hopefulness.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.