At one time or another, we’ve all had scary or painful things happen in our lives. There are no exceptions; the question isn’t if they will happen, but when. Trouble comes to everyone, but the difference between being overwhelmed and successfully dealing with it is in our response to the situation. Nothing just happens randomly; with that in mind, the Bible gives us useful information on putting the “why” into perspective.
When bad things happen, it’s not because God is punishing us. He gives everyone the freedom to make their own choices and won’t interfere with that freedom. He does, however, strongly advise us to make the right choices that will lead to success. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil... I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19, NKJV). God said this in the Old Testament when the people turned away from Him, but its timeless message still applies.
God loves us enough to let us make our own decisions, whether they’re right or wrong. When we make bad choices and find ourselves in a tough situation, it’s the inevitable consequence of our actions. God may let us go through the resulting “junk” that the mistake causes so that we can grow, mature, and learn from it. However, when we trust Him in the midst of it, He can intervene and turn things around in ways we could never do on our own. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Sometimes the pain doesn’t come from what we do, but from what a family member or loved one does. Watching someone we deeply care for make the wrong choices, and not being able to do anything except watch, hurts very much. When we don’t know what to do, we can trust that God knows exactly what to do and is working on the situation even when we don’t understand all the details. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6). We can rely on Him for the wisdom to correctly handle the issue.
Trusting in God’s mercy and goodness gives us the courage to go on when we’re at our lowest. When adversity strikes, some people give up in despair, throw their hands up, and wail “All is lost!” Supernatural intervention comes when we respond to the situation by deliberately praising God for the victory He’s already given us. Rejoicing through the pain is an act of faith. “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Peter 1:6, NIV).
When the problem makes us feel completely surrounded and cut off, God carries us through the flood and sets us down in a safe place. He’ll never abandon us. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:2). Suffering is temporary, but God’s promises are forever; therefore, we can confidently turn the situation over to Him and let Him handle it.