A king in Africa had a close friend who had a habit of looking at any situation and proclaiming, “This is good!” One day, as the two were hunting, the friend had the job of loading the king’s gun. Unfortunately, something went wrong in the loading process and the king’s thumb was blown off when he fired his gun. The friend looked at the king’s mangled hand and said, “This is good!” The king, of course, couldn’t have disagreed more. He said, “No, this is NOT good!” and promptly had his friend thrown into jail.
A year later the king went hunting again, and this time he dared venture into a dangerous area known to be occupied by cannibals. But the gamble cost him as a cannibal tribe captured him, took him to their village, tied him to a stake, and began to build a fire underneath him. It was then, however, that they noticed that he was missing his thumb. Being superstitious, they labeled him “damaged goods” not worthy to be eaten and immediately released him.
On his return trip home, the king recalled the events that had caused him to lose his thumb and started feeling remorse toward his old friend. Upon arriving safely home, he made his way to the jail to order his friend’s release. When he arrived at the jail, he told his friend, “You were right that it was good that my thumb was blown off.” Then he told his friend the harrowing tail of his close call with the cannibals. He finished by saying, “So you see, I shouldn’t have had you thrown into jail. It was very bad of me to do that.” But the friend, in typical fashion, said, “No, this is good!” The king asked, “What do you mean? How can you being in jail wrongly be GOOD?” To that the friend replied, “If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you on the hunting trip.”
Even though this isn’t a Bible story, it does illustrate the Biblical truth that God is sovereign enough to take even bad things and use them to accomplish great good. Death, cancer, other sicknesses, accidents, divorces, family problems, loss of employment, financial troubles, etc. are decidedly NOT good. No one is saying they are. The lesson, though, is that God can bring good out of all of them.
It’s been said that God never wastes anything because He knows how to use everything in His service. Well, that’s true, and it even includes bad things. So here’s a helpful spiritual exercise for you to do: Think about any bad thing that has happened to you, and then spend some time honestly assessing the fallout from that thing and giving God credit for the good that He has brought out of it. If you will do the exercise, I think you’ll find that the good is there. Our problem is that we so rarely take the time to look for it.