Nothing

Hello Church Family, this is Pastor Phil!

I remember losing a job I loved. I was a good manager with good employees doing good work, until the rug got pulled out from under us. It was a corporate decision and they were moving in a different direction. That was it.  Afterwards, family and friends would share with me this sentiment, “something good will come from this.” 

That phrase, something good will come from this, is one of those loaded phrases that we use when we don’t know what else to say and we want to be helpful and encourage someone. Sometimes it can be helpful but oftentimes it simply feels like someone is just twisting the knife, even if they are well meaning. 

I believe, that this phrase can be helpful when it is reminder of our own resilience and strength. In many difficult life situations, we can make the best of a bad situation. We learn how to adapt and grow, how to use what happened for good, for ourselves and for others. However, it’s not guaranteed that something good will come from this. That really depends on us and what we do with it. Maybe a better way of saying that phrase is with a question: “what am I going to do with this situation?” or even better, “how is God calling me to respond to this situation?” 

But, apart from that, I actually really don’t like using that phrase, because when you’re on the receiving end of it can feel like sucker punch to the gut in an already lousy situation. 

First, the phrase itself, “something good will come from this.” What does that actually mean? Some anonymous good will come from some anonymous place to even the balance from this bad situation. It’s just all too vague and out there to really be of any hope or use for someone going through a tough time. I can’t tell you how many people I have counseled over the years who have said, “I’m still waiting for the good to come from this,” after a horrific situation that happened years before. We can even feel like someone is saying, “it’s good that this bad thing happened because something good will come from it!” Honestly, how lousy is that!

There are of course the situations where this phrase is completely inappropriate. A sudden death, a horrible illness, a natural disaster, a tragic accident. You would never want to say “something good will come from this” to someone suffering heartache and loss like this. I have family and friends in Alabama right now that are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sally and all of the damage that it caused. That phrase would be not be appropriate to share with them right now. Instead, now is a time for love, prayers, and any physical support they might need. 

As Christians, we have a far better hope and promise that has been given to us, that goes way beyond the generic and dubious, “something good will come from this.” We have a promise from our Heavenly Father that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) 

“for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) 

This promise is so much better and so much more important for us to receive, to share, and to hold dearly to our own hearts, because…

  • First, this is not some vague promise that somewhere, somehow, someone, is going to bring something good out of the bad. This promise is very specific in who is bringing us His goodness. Our Heavenly Father is the one who is doing the work and our Heavenly Father is able to do so much more than we can ever do ourselves. This is our God who created the Heavens and the Earth with a Word and who sent his Son to die for us for our salvation. Our Heavenly Father can do so much more than we can even ask or imagine. 
  • Second, the good that our Heavenly Father promises is not a vague promise of a generic good that may or may not happen and we might not even realize it if it does. No. The good our Heavenly Father gives to us is already prepared for us with Him because of Jesus. This good is our salvation and the promise that we will always be safe with our God and nothing can ever take that away from us. We are also promised, that on the last day God will take all that has happened in all of creation and make it into something new, the New Heavens and the New Earth, where there is only God and his creation, without pain, or suffering, or loss, ever again. That is the very specific promise our Heavenly Father has given to us because of His great love for us. God will work all things together for our eternal good with Him and nothing in this life can change God’s love and promises for those that are in Christ Jesus.

That is why in a few verses later, God’s Word reminds us of this truth.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32) 

What then can we say to the hurt and brokenness all around us? What can we speak into the hurt of our own lives and the hurt of those around us? Because of Jesus, if God is for us, who or what could stand against us. In Jesus, we already have all things given to us, eternity with God and all the Saints gone before us. Who or what could ever take that away from us? No one, ever. 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) 

In Jesus, as His people, it is this solid promise and this sure good from our Heavenly Father, that we stand upon, even when the winds destroy and the people hurt and the illness eats away, there is nothing that can stop God’s promises from being fulfilled in our lives, nothing. 

For those who love God all things work together for His good for us.

Published by philipmcclelland.org

​I am a recovering burned out workaholic​ who forgot I couldn't change the world. From the ashes of that not only have I found a peace from God that I never knew but a focus on what matters, God, family and loving my neighbor as God has loved me. My burning out experiences really drive my writing and how much I want to share all of the good God has worked through the hurt I've experienced. Currently I serve a great little parish in Northern Ohio with my wonderful family and our furry farm of five dogs, four cats and the oddball handful of fish. You can find me at www.philipmcclelland.org.

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