She found out just a few months ago she has breast cancer and this week she found out it’s much worse than they originally thought. They said she could do radiation and all would be fine, until last week, after more tests came back. Now, she’ll need chemo, 14 weeks of it. Her hair will fall out, she’ll feel weak, unable to eat, sick. And in our women’s Bible study we are talking about brokenness, shattered glass scattered on the floor in minute pieces, unable to ever be pieced together, never to be the same again.
Why? Why does God allow this to happen to His children, His precious ones? Why must we suffer and know pain, loss, fear, loneliness, isolation, failure, conflict, wounds, and shattered dreams? What is the purpose in all of it? If we’ve found God and his grace, if we’ve accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, isn’t that enough? If past pain has brought us to Him, why must there be more?
His Word says He makes all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. As we sat there, talking about brokenness and this verse, it hit me that, at least in my mind, I somehow equate good with comfort. “That bread smells so good! Homemade bread is such comfort food!” “This mattress is so comfortable, I slept so good last night!” “She’s such a good friend, I always feel so comfortable with her!” “I had a good day at work. No run ins with co-workers or clients!” If something is comfortable it is good, right? So, if something is uncomfortable, can it still be good?
Or, just because something is comfortable, does that always make it good? I can like my comfortable bed so much that I just stay there for days on end, never moving. Or, I can snack on that homemade bread, 5 times a day, slathered in butter, making it even harder to move! And I can breeze through easy days at work, mindlessly plodding along, becoming stuck with no new skills to speak of. Hmmm, comfortable. It sounds so inviting.
A pastor at church used to say, “God is more concerned with your character than your comfort.” As we talked about brokenness and God working in our broken lives, we talked about the seed and the death it must pass through to become a sturdy, strong plant that produces fruit for others to enjoy. That seed is all alone, buried in the dark earth, unable to see the light, unable to see anything except the dark, cold, lonely earth. And until the seed is broken, the power that makes it grow can’t start to work. The seed doesn’t see the nutrients that are scattered in that dark, lonely earth. But, they are there. The seed can’t see the sun from deep in the darkness, but it is there. And no matter how many nutrients or how much sunshine that little seed gets, the last ingredient is so important, so vital to its growth that without it, that seed will die. That most important nutrient only comes when there are clouds in the sky. I have yet to see a full rain storm with no clouds. And when there is a storm, what do we do? We run! We dodge the raindrops, trying not to get wet. And yet, those seedlings, as they grow, grow toward the source of power, toward the light and the rain, reaching up for life that only comes from above.
I want to be comfortable. I like my comfort foods, my cozy bed, no stress at work. I believe we all do in one way or another. We gravitate toward it. But, God wants our good, even if it means discomfort in the process. Can we embrace the discomfort, reaching our arms up toward the sun and the rain? Can we dance in the rain, knowing that it is for our good, growing us to be God’s fruit? Can we find hope, without seeing the rainbow? “For we know that God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.