"...there is no situation--no breakage, no loss, no grief, no sin, no mess--so dreadful that out of it God cannot bring good, total good, not just "spiritual" good, if we will allow him to."*Catherine Marshall wrote this after her beloved husband died unexpectedly at 46 years of age. That knowledge and belief was neither an immediate thought upon his death nor an easy thing to accept but she kept her ears open to God during her grief and listened to what he told her.
One thing she did at God's request was to list everything in her life "that seems less than good, that you would like to see changed." She filled five pages. Then God told her to praise him for every item on the list.
Wow! I tried that just now and though I was able to praise God despite the bad things, I found it hard, if not impossible, to praise him for the bad things. How does one do that?
Marshall had trouble with this too. When she asked God about it, he answered, "I am Lord over all--good and evil. You start praising. I'll supply the understanding."
The section I'm currently reading in Connecting with God is about "Perceiving God in Circumstances." Do we see God only in the good we experience, or are we able to see God in the painful, the hurtful, the ugly, the inconvenient, the tragic? The more we are able to see God at work, even in the evil and unwelcome, the more we'll be able to participate with him in his work.
Lord, open my eyes, please, so that I can see your hand in all things around me. Thank you that you are in control of everything and that you make all things work together for good for those who love you. So be it.
*Catherine Marshall as quoted in Connecting with God: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renovaré. (p.58, 59)