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Johanna Stamps ponders how we can recognize the 'good' that God can bring from the evil we experience.

When I’ve gone through times of undeniable grief and hardship, I can’t tell you how many times people said these words:

“God is going to do so much good through your story.”

For years, the Scripture verse, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) was synonymous with this sentiment for me.

Surely, God’s purpose is for me to share my pain and healing with others.

My stomach is turning a little bit as I reread that line. I’m transported back to the little girl I saw on a stage in New York City back in 2009 at a “Save Africa” event. She stood there, speaking in her own language of unspeakable evils committed against her. My heart broke for her in that moment, and knowing what I know now, it’s breaking even deeper as I look back.

Asking a traumatised person to share their story publicly is like building a trauma on top of another trauma. It’s part of the reason I have only shared the broad brushstrokes of my story. I’m not ready—and God is not pushing me.




So what then? What is the “good”?

This week, I was privileged to sit in on a discussion with people at various stages of grief. At some point, the leader asked one of the participants, someone who had suffered a shocking loss, when the truth of God’s word became real for her.

I sat up in my chair, waiting for the answer.

“Well, it was like, my whole life I had heard what the Bible has to say about God, and when I lost everyone, it all became real. If it wasn’t, I would not have made it one week.”

Grief creates an avenue for us to walk closer with God than we ever have before. If I’m honest with myself, I didn’t really think I needed Him before. I could get on just fine without surrendering my innermost being.

In times of severe loss, when our heart is broken in two, we have no choice but to lean on someone other than ourselves.

That experience—that act of turning our lives over because, well, we just can’t any more—that is “good” for the God that loves us. It’s only in that place he gets to plough His love into us.


Click to tweet:
Grief creates an avenue for us to walk closer with God than we ever have before. #catholicmom


How things would change if we exchanged our “share your story” comments to grieving people with “snuggle in close with God right now and let Him answer the cries of your heart.”

What words, during your times of loss, did not sit well with you? What questions came up for you as you wrestled with, “All things work together for good?” How does God want to answer those questions for you?

Copyright 2022 Johanna Stamps
Images: copyright 2022 Johanna Stamps, all rights reserved.