We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NRSV)
We have all heard it, we’ve probably all said it (I know I have)—everything happens for a reason. And while I do believe that many things in our lives happen for a reason, this statement in its entirety is not actually true. Bad things happen, sometimes for no reason at all. I suffer from pelvic pain and painful sex, and I am still healing from the emotional devastation of a divorce, but it doesn’t mean there was a reason that these bad things happened to me.
Everything may not happen for a reason, but God does make all things work together for good. Even the bad things.
Pelvic and sexual pain definitely fall into my “bad things” category. Living with any type of pain, especially chronic pain, can be debilitating. But pelvic pain has the ability to go beyond any other kind in its effects on your life. It is a pain that you hide, that others can’t understand. The emotional pain goes deep and the psychological damage is not easily repaired. Painful sex not only causes broken relationships, but broken individuals—broken to the core of who we are. I have been broken, I have felt the pain of hopelessness and emptiness. In all honesty it was the emotional pain that came at the end of my marriage—loaded down with years of carrying the burden of my sexual pain—that hurt the worst.
But God works all things together for good, even hurt and heartache. I can look back and see so many amazing ways that God has worked things together for my good. I can see how He went before me preparing the way, setting people and circumstances along my path so that I would have the support I needed when I was facing the most difficulty. Even the worst time in my life He has worked together for good.
My marriage ended in a bad way, as I suppose most marriages do. Those last few months were truly the worst in my life and the most difficulty I have faced yet. But even through all of the bad things of that time, I can see clearly how God has worked everything for good. I had an unhealthy marriage in many ways, and the burden I carried was keeping me from living life to the fullest. But, I was committed to my marriage and I would never have left on my own. I can see now that the only way I could’ve left is through the level of hurt that was caused. I don’t believe that those bad things happened for the reason of making me move on from my marriage, instead I believe God worked those bad things together for my ultimate good. Today I can feel the good work that God is doing in me to my core. My burden has been lifted and I am being made new, and this is because God doesn’t stop at using just the good things in our lives—He uses all things, even the bad things.*
*Here’s the catch—the verse doesn’t end there, it adds “for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Are you not seeing things work together for good? Maybe it is time to hand them over to God. In order to love God you need to trust Him and trust that His purposes for you are good.