From Bad to Best?

When people talk about their circumstances it is common to hear the phrase “things went from bad to worse.” What was already a difficult circumstance got even more difficult. It happens all the time. We think we have nearly made it through the hardest part and then suddenly things get worse instead of better.

It’s especially difficult when we’ve prayed and we are believing in faith that God will answer our prayers and solve our problem or relieve our suffering. Then when things get worse instead of better we are left wondering what God is thinking. Did He not hear our prayer? Doesn’t He care about our situation?

He has heard and He cares so very much. But sometimes the way He chooses to care for us is much different than we might like. He has our best in mind. I think sometimes we get confused with how to define the word “best.”

When you visit a county fair and look at the exhibits you might see a ribbon that says “best of show.” When the judges examined that entry they were looking at the presentation. How it was displayed or how it was made. They chose the entry that was flawless. The perfect pumpkin, the unblemished animal, the most meticulous needlepoint design. What the judges saw was the outside only. They judged by appearance for the most part. Have you ever cut into a piece of fruit that looked perfect on the outside only to find that it had begun to rot on the inside where no one could see? That perfect pumpkin with the “best of show” ribbon could be spoiling on the inside but it doesn’t show.

God uses the word best in a different way. His best for us many not look too beautiful from the outside. He isn’t really interested in how we appear to the world or even to ourselves. His best for us often includes some very difficult or unpleasant experiences. His plan for our best means that He will go to whatever means necessary to help us become who He knows we can be. He wants us to trust Him to do what is best. He isn’t asking more of us than is reasonable. He asked His son to suffer and die a horrible death for us. Jesus was already perfect, His suffering wasn’t to make Him a better person. It was for us. It was what was best of us that Jesus died.

God will use whatever circumstances He finds necessary to transform us. Sometimes that means our circumstances seem to go from bad to worse. But let’s try to remember that in God’s plan it may just be that they are really going from bad to best.

Psalm 139 7-12: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.