The Path of Suffering and Beyond

“God’s ways are at times like heavy wagon tracks that cut deep into our souls, yet all of them are merciful.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Grace God’s Unmerited Favor*
Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn. Something bad happens. And the landscape of our story changes completely. We have a new perspective, a new direction. A bad thing works for good that we did not foresee.
I have a friend who worked in an ice cream truck when he was 17 years old. That seems like a job that would have few challenges. But one day, he was robbed and beaten. The event changed the trajectory of his life.
He became a career prosecutor. He devotes his life’s work to pursuing justice for those who are robbed, beaten, cheated, or worse.
A neighbor’s grandchild was born with serious handicaps. He and his parents faced challenges most of us cannot imagine. But two of his aunts found inspiration and, because of him, became therapists.
A former student’s younger sibling was born with a genetic disorder. This student is in medical school studying to become a geneticist. She may change the life trajectory of others who suffer from similar conditions.
We Christians love to quote Romans 8:28–“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
But we sometimes neglect the following verse: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
We are creations still in the shaping process–being conformed to the image of Christ.
Most of us can look back and clearly see our turning points. We can realize now that we found a life path because life changed one day. Unexpected. Unpredictable. Even unpleasant and painful.
But never, ever without purpose.

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