Someone said it again this week. In speaking of a trial they were going through, they said, “Well, God must want me to learn something.” For sure, tragedy has a way of adjusting our perspective. Someone has said, “Deep suffering makes theologians of us all.” I am more and more convinced, however, that it is not so much what you learn, like “I won’t do that again!” but what God reveals about himself in the midst of our suffering.
My husband and I were recently involved in a two motorcycle accident. While we sustained minor injuries, one of the other rider’s injuries was life-threatening. After any incident like this, those precarious moments are often replayed over and over in our minds, wondering how things could have been played out differently. As I reflected on the incident that day I began to see God’s mercy and grace punctuated throughout those moments. For sure, it could have been worse in many ways. I now “see” evidence, multiplied over and over, that it was sheer grace that it wasn’t. What appeared to be catastrophic was in reality life-saving. What shouldn’t have been (like cell phone coverage in a destitute place) was.
1 Peter 5:10 defines God as the “God of all grace.” This verse has come alive in my heart. Our self-revealing God is not outside our suffering, he is in the middle of it, revealing himself in ways we’ve yet to comprehend as the God of all grace. Beyond the pain is active, abundant, life-giving grace for those who are willing to look for it. This gives us great hope that no matter what lies ahead, our lives need not be defined by tragedy but by grace.
If you are going through a trial, don’t miss how God is revealing himself to you in the midst of it by focusing only on the pain. God wants to be your healer and your provider but also wants to be so much more. Adjust your gaze to see the grace that is around every corner.