When The Bad Stuff Is Good For You

So I’m sitting in church yesterday, right, and…

Actually, let me backtrack a minute. First of all let me say a huge THANK YOU to all the dear, dear friends who called/emailed/texted/messaged me the other day after Thursday’s post. Your love and support was overwhelming, and touched me deeply. Love you all.

And I am okay. Really. Some days you go through stuff. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, instead of just taking you out, those days end up teaching you something about yourself. And that’s what happened.

So I’m sitting in church yesterday, right, and I’m making a conscious decision to focus on what’s happening right there and not to think about what’s going on in my head (which is kind of like a toddler sitting with his hands over his ears yelling “LALALALALA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”, except in a less obvious form), and I’m listening away to what the pastor is preaching, but then all of a sudden I start really listening. He said (and I can’t quote, because although I was taking notes I wasn’t necessarily taking good ones) something along the lines of this:

Sometimes stuff happens, stuff that looks bad, feels bad, smells bad (oh no, I know the worst joke about that) actually isn’t bad, but is working in our best interest.

He gave the example of backburning (for you lucky people who don’t live in bushfire affected areas, this is where areas of bushland are burned in a controlled environment to get rid of the thick undergrowth and debris that can turn a bushfire deadly in uncontrolled conditions. Kind of like a haircut for the forest), where you can see the flames, smell the smoke, have it sting your eyes even, but it doesn’t mean you’re in danger. In fact, the fire is keeping you safe from a potential larger danger. (Is that right Pastor Lucas?)

Source: wikimedia commons

Source: wikimedia commons

Big, huh?

What he’s saying is that sometimes God does things (or allows things to happen) that look bad, but are actually used for our good. And you know what? He’s right.

So I’m sitting in church listening to this, and I figure that it’s probably okay now for me to take my metaphorical hands from my metaphorical ears and to think about whatever is going on in my brain, namely the stuff I posted about on Thursday.

Could this problem be God’s way of helping me?

You know what? This is the reason I sat up and started really listening.

I think it is.

I’d thought about this just a few days before. I’d been so depressed that I’d thrown myself into my work, not the new project that I thought I’d be working on, but pulled out an old one that I’d loved and been proud of, but one where the problems in pushing it through to completion were so overwhelming and seemingly impassable that I’d given up on it. I felt like I was lashing out in anger by opening up that old can o’ worms again, but yesterday in church I wasn’t so sure. That anger and frustration were the things that were fuelling me into actions I hadn’t thought about taking, and maybe instead of being sidelined I was actually walking backwards to get a good run up and vault over that insurmountable wall.

I didn’t realise it, but I’d got too comfortable.

As for the original problem I posted about last week, I’m okay. I’m a big girl, I know how to roll with life’s punches and to pick myself up again. That’ll be okay, I know it. Life goes on.

And if a week of tears and anguish has been the catalyst to hurl me back into the race and set my face to the challenge again, then, yes, I guess I can say it’s been worth it.

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5 thoughts on “When The Bad Stuff Is Good For You

  1. Very well expressed, and I think you have a valid point.

    I used to feel that way, but I’ve seen rather too many people killed to make a political point. It gets rather wearying, and I can’t see the good it did them – or my colleagues (or me, for that matter). It did engender anger, which facilitated a highly kinetic solution to certain situations. But it didn’t make us better people. We were merely more effective.

    My belief is that God hates the bad in our lives, and desperate;y wants to make it go away – but the demands of internal consistency (creation of a world which fell, and in which free will exists) prevent it. God can’t play the puppeteer, and still have created being capable of freely loving Him.

    What He can do is change our hearts, bolster our courage, increase our compassion. Valorous love can work miracles.

    • Yes, I hear you. Half way through the morning I thought about what I’d written, and I very nearly edited it to clarify that very point: not all bad stuff is good, and not all bad stuff is God’s doing. Yes, He can redeem any situation, and yes, all things work together for good for those who love Him…not every bad thing is a backburning. Some is just plain old stinking bushfire.

      • I’m glad you didn’t edit it, because the point you make is coherent, and, indeed may be exactly right.

        God’s view is omniscient, and mine is very parochial – the emotions which drive my theology may be its undoing.

        It’s a bit like surgery – which I’ve had to do on myself, to remove various bits of metal. Taken on a moment-to-moment view, it’s unbearable. Taken on the longer view, it’s absolutely necessary (gangrene kind of sucks).

        The Pauline passage about being grateful for our trials (count it all joy), certainly supports your view – and so do a host of others.

        I can’t think of a single Scriptural prop for my feeling – it’s an intellectualism, and while I do believe it, I can’t really defend it except on a logical basis.

        As always, you’ve made me think, Megan. Thanks for writing this.

  2. You’ve been through the ringer recently, I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened so I don’t want to compare but I feel like this type of thing happens to me every seven years. Every seven or so years a situation pops up that leaves me thinking “what just happened? Did did I accidentally step into an alternate universe?”

    • Jessie that’s a really interesting observation. I hadn’t thought about it recently, but you’re right…a while ago I noticed that big BIG changes happen to me every 10 years, every time the year ends with a 3 (like 2013) there’s been some kind of big cataclysmic shakeup (not always bad, but big. One was the birth of my first child, for instance). Years ending with a 4 (like this year) have often been about getting used to that change, and what it means. Now that you mention it I can see a few other little patterns too.
      Sheesh, roll on 2023…NOT! 🙂

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