All Things for Your Sakes

“For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15)

When my children were young, I remember wanting to protect them of any harm that may come to them. And that was easy… until they learned to crawl! 

Then reality slapped me in the face and I realized that even with my best efforts, I could not shield them from everything. 

At times, I was able to walk with them through their difficulties, but other times, I had to stand back as they walked it out alone. Painful as it was, I learned that allowing them to go through the rough places alone actually worked to strengthen and grow them so much more than if I had protected them from it, or even handled it myself. 

I believe that God gives us children to help us understand what His heart is like for us. 

As parents, we know the feeling of wanting to switch places with our children when they are hurting. We know the feeling of knowing we would die for our children. That’s how great our love is for them. 

It’s hard to imagine a love greater than the love we have for our children. But God loves us even more. The apostle reminds believers, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1) 

“So if He loves me so much, why am I going through this suffering?”

Oswald Chambers wrote, “You cannot help suffering; it is a true and needful training for the soul that dares to be true to God”.

Even as children of God, we will suffer in this world. Bad things do happen and they happen to good people, or at least, in the way we see “good”. In reality, in God’s eyes, all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and there is no one good (Romans 3:10), except what Christ has given us. There will be trials. There will be struggles. 

Granted, some pain we bring upon ourselves. I can remember a time when I thought God failed me, when actually God wanted me learn a lesson in humility…and I needed it. Even Jesus humbled zealous Peter, allowing him to sink into the stormy sea to show him his weakness and that all power comes from Christ. When Peter focused on the waves, fear took his eyes off the Source of his ability to rise above. 

However, it’s the pain that broadsides us which seems to throw us into a spiritual quandary. 

“Is God punishing me for something?”  

            No. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1) We live in a fallen world where Satan destroys people's lives and then blames God.

“Maybe I need to go to church more.” 

            That could be. It certainly helps to encourage us. (Heb. 10:25) But when God sees you, He does not see you through your church attendance record; He sees Christ in you. He sees Grace, and His grace is sufficient for you. (2 Cor. 12:9) 

“But it’s someone else’s fault!” 

            It may be. God never said life would be fair. It’s not. Many of our trials will be a product of the actions of another. Some will be an accident; others perhaps are an act of nature or a sudden illness. God is still our Rock, our Fortress, and our Deliver; our God in whom we can trust completely. (Ps. 18:2)

As believers, we should know that just as we would not delight in the pain and suffering of our own children, God does not delight in ours. But God does not view our troubles as we do. 

What we view as failure or obstacles; He sees as future opportunities. What we see as crisis; He sees as personal or spiritual growth and development. 

He turns tragedies into triumph (Luke 24:6); victims into victors (Gen 37:20, Gen. 41:41); and hopelessness into confident joy (John 8:10-11). 

“For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 4:15)

Even those things that intended to harm us, God intends for good, to bring us to a position to encourage or even save the lives of many people. (Gen. 50:20) 

God’s purpose in times of trouble is to teach us, His children, valuable life principles and lessons. They are meant to train and educate us, to build us up in our most holy faith, in His time and in His ways. When we learn to trust God in the midst of these trials, we will begin to see His promises fulfilled in us. We are better for having gone through it, stronger than before, more confident in our faith, and He is glorified!

Everything we experience can be a teachable moment, if we let it. When we allow God to grow and shape us through our trials, we mature in our faith and in turn we are better equipped to help others in their time of need.

Let's Pray: 

Father, I thank you that You loved us so much that Your Son did switch places with us, even dying in our place, enabling us now to walk in confidence and victory in our faith journey. Lord, remind us that our trials are not uncommon, and are used to mold and shape us after Your will. Help us to maintain a teachable spirit, that we may become more like Jesus as we walk through our trials with the confident trust that You will turn it around for our good and Your glory, in Jesus’ name, amen.