As a teenager, she prayed for a miracle.
She grew up and prayed and prayed for a miracle.
And then one day, after decades of sincere, belief-filled pleas, God answered her with a resounding "No."
Her world came crashing in for a while, as much for the sadness of what was lost as for her great disappointment in God. He could do it if He wanted. She knew He was capable. She had faith and believed above all odds He would.
But He didn't.
She scoured her Bible for answers. She read of Job and how He praised God for the good and the bad. She came to realize God is under no obligation to explain Himself. Slowly, very slowly, she came to accept His "No". What else could she do?
Life went on and she learned to live without her miracle. God blessed her in many other ways and their relationship grew. Then suddenly, when the pain no longer plagued her and she had long ago reconciled herself to God's plan, without warning came His explanation for her YEARS of hurt and disappointment.
It is for the others.
You had to know the hurt to identify with them, urge them along and show them the hope which comes only from Me. The answer had to be "No" so I could use your pain for them.
The knowledge overwhelmed her. It made sense. Her life had come full circle. He truly did make all things work together for good. He saw and He knew and it was all part of His divine plan. She understood it all, yet felt so sad. It didn't seem quite fair. She knew many would not see it. People would be stubborn and find ways to dismiss it. They would never realize the price she paid for the long shot they might see His Truth.
And then she remembered Jesus.
I have only asked from you what I've been willing to give Myself. Your pain was not wasted.
Had He hurt too as He watched her struggle to understand? Had He worried about what she may think of Him? Had He weeped alongside her all these years thinking, "Just hang on. You'll get it one day. It will be worth it."?
Could YOUR pain be for the sake of the others? Is there any better way to love?
He makes ALL things work together for good.
The pain is not wasted.
The value in our suffering comes when it is used for the sake of others.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.