God never wastes our pain. He teaches – restores – redeems and even sometimes makes us laugh.

QUESTION: How has God redeemed your pain?

Romans 8:38 says: “All things work together for good for those who love God, for those called according to his purpose.” I both love and hate this verse. It depends upon the context. It can sometimes feel like a rote response to someone’s pain as if it is an immediate panacea for current troubles. One of the first times a goodhearted sister in Christ quoted this verse to me, one of our daughters, sixteen at the time, had run away.

Things got much worse over the next five years and I saw no evidence of the promise of this scripture being fulfilled. That same daughter ended up spending over two years in federal prison for trafficking drugs over the California/Mexican border. I prayed. I cried. I visited my daughter and wondered, “Where’s the “good”, God?” That wasn’t our only trial in those years. Our other daughter got pregnant in her junior year of high school. A year later, we adopted that little boy not knowing (thank the Lord) that he’d become a prodigal from age 18 to 24.

Needless to say, those stressful years certainly contributed to the many gray hairs I acquired. By the time I was 50, I was at least 70% gray. All the while, God really was working things together for good. In prison, our daughter came to know Jesus in a personal way. She had time to face off her life choices in an environment that protected her from herself for a season.

Our other daughter was slowly but surely finding her own way as well. She enrolled in beauty school and grew a very successful business. And then, her sister took on the same profession and I now had two very talented hairdresser daughters at my beck and call. I told them both, “You made me gray, and God has a great sense of humor. He’s provided me with free cuts and color for the rest of my life!”

Today, our daughters are in their forties. They both love God and deeply love their families. They are truly my best friends. As a follower of Christ, here’s what I’ve learned about the promises of Romans 8:28: When God’s Word says ALL things work together for good, it means ALL things. Not SOME things. What the promise doesn’t tell us is WHEN. Sometimes the good comes very quickly. Sometimes it is months, years, or even decades later. Sometimes this promise will not be fully realized until we see it beautifully unfolded in Heaven. In the meantime – as we wait and grow in faith and perseverance – we celebrate the good things God has already lavished on us.

For today, I once again celebrate my beautiful daughters and their talent as my gray hair is turned back to brown. Thank you my beautiful Jamie for the highlights to boot! You both are the the “highlights” of my life and God truly is true to His Word!