Most people try to find the answer to this question by asking another question – “If God is good, then why do bad things happen to good people?” That is a good question and a very legitimate one. Another good question is – “If God is good, then why do good things happen to bad people?” However, in order to get the right answer, you must first ask the right question. These are wrong questions which only point out that we tend to have the wrong outlook on life. It all boils down to perspective. How you look at trials will determine how you handle them.
Finding Joy in Suffering
James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds.” There’s an old song that says, “Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.” That is not what James means here. Considering it pure joy doesn’t mean that you pretend everything is okay. He is not advocating that if we somehow just ignore the storm it will go away. In the original Greek, to consider it pure joy literally means to add value or significance to something. In short, he is telling us that joy doesn’t come from the trial itself but in the outcome.
We tend to focus all our attention on the problem. All this does is paralyze us and keep us from moving forward. The key is to focus on the result. The next time you face a trial, remember this – Nothing in this life will allow us to truly experience God in a real and tangible way more than adversity does. It is through adversity that we recognize our powerlessness and see His omnipotence. Adversity strips away from our lives all the unimportant stuff and reveals what is really important. This adds value or significance to the trial. Trials make us stronger and deepen our relationship with God.
A Shift in Perspective
I mentioned earlier that we tend to ask the wrong questions. When facing trials don’t ask – “Why is this happening to me?” Ask – “How can I use this to make me a better person?” Look beyond the present situation and focus on the future result. Again, this doesn’t mean ignore the problem or pretend it isn’t there. Just don’t focus on it.
There are three mistakes you must avoid when facing adversity.
- Believing that the problem is permanent. Don’t believe it because every storm eventually passes.
- Thinking that the problem is bigger than it really is. No matter how big it looks, don’t forget that God is always bigger.
- Focusing your attention on the problem rather than the problem solver. For every problem, God has a solution so look at him and not the problem.
Can you really believe God is good when life stinks? Yes! It all boils down to perspective. Keep your focus in the right place and trials will become your friend. Instead of of a life that stinks, you will live a life full of the sweet aroma of character that will make people want to be around you.