Thought for the Day: How do we read those words? For too many people, they believe Paul was suggesting that God caused his difficulty, including his imprisonment for the sake of sharing the Gospel. That is, in my opinion, a very dangerous theological path to travel. To suggest that God causes bad things to happen for the purpose of producing good things is troubling at best, and should probably fall into the category of abuse. It should be deeply troubling to suggest that God is loving and God inflicts pain on people. Abusers often justify what they have done by saying, “But I love you.” That never justifies it or even makes it excusable. This is all to say that Paul, it appears to me, was simply saying that life and his context had caused some bad things to happen. God wasn’t the source of the problem or pain, but God was the source of something. That something was God’s ability to use our life experiences, even the most tragic and gut-wrenching, for something good. It is a reflection of the Easter story. If there is goodness to be found in life’s tragedies, God will find it. What God is able to do will never erase, explain or vindicate what has happened. But God does allow for new life and purpose to arise from great brokenness.
Prayer: Thank you for meeting me in my worst moments of life, O Lord of Love. You stand with me and promise to walk alongside me as I find the strength to move forward with a sense of purpose. Amen.
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