Continued from here.
I learned a valuable lesson from my experience with the flu and Italy: I do not have the ability to accurately label whatever happens in my life as “good” or “bad.” I certainly believed that suffering from the flu was “bad” because I was in pain. However, if I had not gotten the flu at home, I likely would have gotten it in Italy, where I would not have had the option of spending the day in bed. I also would not have traveled with cold medication, which provided relief for others on the tour.
Like most people, I don’t like to be in pain. I want to be comfortable, so I define whatever feels comfortable as “good” and whatever brings discomfort as “bad.” However, in retrospect, I see that my contracting the flu when I did was actually “good.” Of course, I would have preferred not to have to contract the flu at all because it was uncomfortable, but then I would not have been able to bless those on the tour who became sick.
God showed me through this experience that only He accurately labels our life experiences as “good” or “bad,” so I must trust His judgment, not my own. If He allowed me always to be comfortable, I likely would never grow because I would have no incentive to “leave my comfort zone.” The purpose of life is not to be comfortable (although that would certainly be my preference!) I am here on this earth to transform into Christ’s image, and that means change, which often includes discomfort.
Think about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve thought the fruit looked “good,” even though God told her it was “bad.” She trusted her own judgment, and mankind was separated from God. God was right, despite what Eve thought based upon her limited perspective.
I have learned the hard way that I do not have the ability to distinguish “good” from “bad.” I must trust God’s Word and believe it, regardless of how I feel or how uncomfortable God’s perspective is for me. The alternative is to keep falling into emotional pits, which is how I lived my life for many years. Because of the child abuse, my own view of what is “good” and “bad” is skewed. Whenever I trust my own judgment, I walk right into another pit. However, when I believe God, regardless of how I feel about it, I avoid the pits.
Only God has the perspective to distinguish “good” from “bad,” so I no longer try to do it on my own. I believe whatever God says in His Word. Period. It might not make sense to me. (Most of the time, it doesn’t because God’s ways are the polar opposite of society’s ways.) However, I trust Him and believe that He knows what is “good.” My way brought misery, anxiety, and depression. His way brings joy and peace.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling over the words, “I’m Good.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]