Hidden inside

Cactus flowers in an Amsterdam floral shop, March 2007

Cactus flowers in an Amsterdam floral shop, March 2007

“Sometimes what you want is hidden inside what you don’t want.”Ashleigh Brilliant

Just as the prickly cactus produces beautiful blooms, so harsh circumstances can result in positive change and growth.  This does not negate the pain of grief and loss, but it does provide a way through darkness.  Christians believe “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28), a verse that is sometimes misinterpreted to mean “everything that happens is for the best.” Not everything that happens is good, but God promises us that no matter what happens, we can find a way to bring blessings from sorrow.

My husband’s stage IV cancer is a nightmare; we could never see it as being “for the best.”  Yet even with the suffering, we have been blessed with unexpected joys:

The outpouring of love and support from people we are close to, as well as those we had not heard from in years, is a continual encouragement.  And many people we have never met strengthen us daily with their prayers and expressions of concern.

A lot of frustrations or concerns that once held a false sense of importance have been rendered powerless to bother us, seeming minor in comparison to the challenges we face now.  We have a sharply focused picture of what really matters; many truths we understood intellectually before, we now know with our hearts.

And I have spent more time with my husband in recent weeks — despite that time being mostly in medical settings — than we were ever able to spend together before.  As strange as it may sound, I have been so glad to be with him even when the reason we’re spending time together is because of the “worse” part of “for better or worse.”

Whatever trials or challenges you may be facing now, my prayer is that there will be hidden blessings that emerge from the pain.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.

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