For The Good
I wanted to forget, and who wouldn’t?
I wanted to shake the old season off like old skin and walk into my new season fresh and clean.
I wanted to move on and act like it didn’t change me, but it did. That’s the thing about pain – it changes you whether you want to believe it or not.
Almost two years ago, Yahweh gave me Romans 8:28. I wasn’t an avid Bible reader at the time to be honest, but the verse resonated so deeply with me that I had to memorize it. It has since become my favorite Bible verse, not because it’s so obviously empowering or incredibly optimistic, but because it revealed its true meaning to me in layers, over the course of a season of pain. In the midst of my own brokenness and trials, it offered a point of view that was so contradictory to my experience that I became almost obsessed with fully comprehending it.
“For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Yahweh, and are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
It seems straight forward, but the Word is truly living. This verse morphed into so many different forms. It enveloped me from so many different angles. It shook loose so many preconceived notions and voided so many beliefs I held about tragedy, trials, and triumph.
When we walk through painful season, we don’t want to bring any part of it into the next. Why would we want to remember all the terrible things that happened to us? But as I sit here at my new desk, at my new job, performing my new duties in this new environment, I am finding that this season correlates to a lot of what I experienced in the old one. I was an engineer, and to be honest I hated it. So it stands to reason that I wanted to do something completely different from what I was doing before, right? The fact of the matter is that while I may have a new job description, I am still the same Daniah. Maybe a little more mature, wise, and refined, maybe more grounded and secure, but my personality traits, my distinguishing characteristics that Yahweh painstakingly placed inside of me will never change, even if I pretend they aren’t there. The same is true for you.
Here’s the funny thing about Yahweh: He will often reveal why you had to experience a thing after you’ve already gone through it. We learn so many lessons looking in the rear view mirror. That uncomfortable place of uncertainty we find ourselves sitting in after unexpected, undeserved, or inexplicable things happen is not foreign to any of us. I think it’s human nature to wonder why bad things happen, especially when they happen to good people.
But this is why faith is hard and sometimes controversial – it challenges us to act contrary to our nature. People don’t like when you call them up out of their pain to view it from a higher perspective. We get defensive and derisive, we say that people don’t understand and are unbelievably insensitive, and sometimes they are. But I believe that faith done right is laced with compassion and love. I believe that the faith Yahshua demonstrated for us to follow is not practical or reasonable by our brain’s standard, but is literally the language of our spirits. Faith will call you to walk out a Word that hasn’t manifested yet, and it will call you to speak life when you feel completely dead.
I was terribly unhappy for almost six years of my life trying to do a thing that felt foreign and was challenging for me. Do I believe if I had dropped out of college that Yahweh would have found a way to reroute me to purpose? Now I do, absolutely. But I didn’t then. I made a decision that was based in fear and a lack of identity, and I ended up in a place that seemed good to others, but wasn’t the place I was graced to be in. But Yahweh still made provision for me on my self-inflicted detour. He still showed me favor and mercy even when I wasn’t brave enough to follow His leading or face who I really was.
I do not regret for one minute what I went through, and if I could do it again I wouldn’t change anything, but that’s because this journey taught me about the faithfulness of Yahweh and unlocked things in me that I don’t know would have been unlocked otherwise. I gained so much compassion , forged amazing friendships, was exposed to so much…different. I think I finally learned to love people who weren’t like me in any way. I can’t trade that for less pain.
But now that I’m in a new season, Yahweh had to remind me that the last season has equipped me for this one, so I can’t just pretend that it didn’t happen. That’s what Romans 8 is talking about. Yahweh will not trample on our free will. He gave it to us for a reason, so we have the power to choose. If we choose to live lives that don’t take us down paths that lead to His preferred plans for us, if we find ourselves settling for less than His absolute best, if we are stuck in destructive cycles or addicted to harmful things, He makes it all work for us when we come to our senses.
He conceals lessons in the places of our pain, and when we choose to ask for His help in leaving those places, we have access to these lessons. When we rise above, we gain a higher perspective. And when we gain a higher perspective, we begin to ask questions of our pain. As we ask questions, we inadvertently seek out the lessons that Yahweh has placed within our painful experiences. And we are ultimately letting Yahweh work it for our good.
Yahweh can make everything work for the good, but we have to let Him work it. This is a joint effort; you need both His grace and your faith in His perfect will and confidence in His love for you in order to squeeze every ounce of hidden knowledge and wisdom out of your past pain.
You have to surrender what you think you know and let go of the victim’s mentality that WE ALL adopt at some point or another, and believe that Yahweh is ABLE to make EVEN THIS benefit you in the end. He can make a lesson out of anything, and I’m learning that it’s when we ask Him to show us the tools we’ve acquired unbeknownst to us in the midst of our struggles, that we begin to unlock those lessons. That’s not to say that he takes away the consequences of our unwise decisions, and that’s not to say that we won’t have scars from what we went through. But contentment and peace of mind are available, forgiveness for yourself and others is available, true freedom and hope is available.
I wanted to come on this new job and forget that I was an engineer. I always said that I knew I must have learned a thing or two from schooling and working in the profession, but to be honest I just felt like I was 100% misplaced. I thought my brain worked completely opposite to that of my more analytical counterparts. I wanted to treat the years of struggle like a past life and just do something new.
But the Holy Spirit has been working on me about compartmentalizing myself. I want to label myself a lot, because it helps me grasp the concept of me. Yahweh is revealing so much about me to me that I didn’t know was there, and on some level that makes me very uncomfortable. To think that I have lived this life for almost 25 years and still don’t know what really lies within is scary to me. So whenever I learn something new I want to slap a label on it and shove it in a box. But the Holy Spirit whispered something to me in a brief moment of perceived incompetence last week. He said, “If you’d stop despising all you went through in the last season for just a minute, I can show you that it gave you all the tools you’ll need to be successful in this one.”
I mean how do you respond to that? Someone tell me. HOW girl??
I wanted to black the pain out of memory, but Yahweh doesn’t do hiding. He will bring your pain to the forefront and build your faith by redeeming the most wretched parts of your story and making them glorious. He can use any experience and trial, anything – good or bad – to equip you for a future task.
This what Paul meant when He said all things work for the good. It works because we serve a Sovereign Elohim who will force even your self-imposed affliction, even the pits you dug and flung yourself in, even the horrible, terrible, unwise decisions that you made in your own power, to give you good things when you ask Him to fix it. Why? Because He LOVES YOU and wants absolutely nothing but HIS VERY BEST for you.
In that brief moment of comparison-bred, false incompetence, Yahweh reminded me of who He is: He is my Father, and He is able to do all things, even help me adapt to a new environment. While I was attempting to be an engineer He was teaching me how to unashamedly ask in-depth, detailed questions. He was teaching me how to submit to authority and respect the experience-earned knowledge that others have. He was teaching me how to be diligent, how to work HARD, how to plan and think outside of the box. He was teaching me how to respond under pressure and how to make the most of limited resources (time included). And yes, He was teaching me how to solve problems, how to be solutions and results oriented, how to use Microsoft Excel and Adobe in ways that regular people won’t ever have to but benefit from, all functions of Engineers.
He revealed the location of the tools when I surrendered my pain. And I’m grateful now, because I am equipped.
What if your place of pain is a box full of weapons to help you win the next battle, or an expanse of land with precious treasure buried just below the surface? Whichever metaphor you choose, know that the pain can teach you something if you let it.
I’m not saying that Yahweh orchestrates tragedy in our lives, but I am saying that bad things are bound to happen. Why? Again, I don’t know, but I know it’s inevitable. Why not build your faith when it does? Why not gain something when everything is falling apart? Why not offer your hurt to Yahweh and see what He can do with it before you chalk it up to bad luck, life being unfair, or simply throw it away? Why not let Him show you that no experience has to be wasted when you choose to live a life that is directed by Him? Why not at the very least rise stronger and better than ever when life has throttled you beyond comprehension but failed at ending you?
Give Him a chance. He doesn’t disappoint, that I can promise you.