When faced with difficult situations, its not uncommon for us to utter words that we know are untrue but that bring us comfort. For example, the parent tells the child that their dog didn’t die, but that it is enjoying a scenic farm community. Or the coach tells the team that is brutally behind in points that they can come back and win the game. We say these things without thinking of their falseness. Our intention to bring comfort overrides are commitment to utter truth.
The same is true when our life gets tough. In Christian circles, we frequently comfort ourselves or others with the words “someday we’ll understand and see why God is allowing this trial.” We want to believe that we will understand why we are being challenged and stretched. Now, in the strictest sense this is true for Scripture teaches us that “then [we] will fully know” (I Corinthians 13:12) and in the light of God’s glory the insignificance of our earthly trials will be demonstrably revealed. However, many times, what we mean is that we will be able to look back while on this Earth and see what God accomplished through our difficult situations. I am convinced that sometimes this is untrue. Sometimes, we go through life and do not see the the specific good that God accomplished through it. In the same vein, we often don’t see the full fruits of our Christly actions either. Our commitment to persevere through a trial (James 1:12) and to follow Christ’s commands (John 14:15) must not be contingent on whether we see how Christ is glorified through them. His ways are “higher than our ways” and there are times that we just might not understand.
John Piper (@JohnPiper) recently posted on Twitter – “The man God used to call me from pre-med to gospel ministry never knew it. Don’t judge your life by known effects.” Neither should we judge our trials by the good that we see come out of them. Instead, our we must trust that God “works all things for the good of those that love Him and have been called accordingly to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) even if the mystery of His specific purposes remain sight unseen.