During a time of trial and suffering, the old adage (or some variation of) “it’s all part of God’s plan” is typically thrown around by Christians. “I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, but it’s all part of God’s plan.” This has never sat well with me. I understand the sentiment behind the saying – the speaker is trying to offer sincere comfort in the fact that there is a higher power – but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. To me, this implies that it was God’s plan for them to die and that He somehow orchestrated it. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to follow such a God. But it wasn’t until recently that I came across a way to better way to articulate a comforting sentiment: God does not waste.
Death Was Never Part of God’s Plan
In the Beginning, there was no death. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden without sin, and, therefore, without death. This was God’s original plan for His creation. For us to live in peace and harmony with one another and in perfect fellowship with Him.
Spoiler alert: things don’t go according to His plan. We now live in a sinful world, and that includes sickness and death. People far too young get sick and die, cancer claims lives, families die in car accidents, women have miscarriages. But to say this is God’s plan is simply a misunderstanding.
Death is not His plan for us. God does not make or cause those events in order to achieve His plan.
God Does Not Waste
That means that God can take any situation and use it for good. He can take the most tragic and disastrous situations and find a way to shine through them. To do good through them.
One of the best examples I can think of comes to me from my community college days. I was still on track to become a teacher and we were tackling the idea of domestic violence in a student’s home. I heard a story about a teenaged girl who was shot by her boyfriend. This is obviously a situation beyond words, and to hear this story from the mother was absolutely heart-breaking. This tragedy, however, motivated the mother to create an organization that promotes healthy teen relationships and provides education on issues relating to teen dating violence. God did not cause that young girl’s death, but He did not let it go to waste.
This organization is called Kaity’s Way and you can learn more about it here.
And if you look hard enough, you can see examples like this in every day life. Have you ever heard a story on the news that resonated with you? Maybe a child the same age as your own passed away… Did you hug your child a little tighter that night? Did you maybe exercise a bit more patience with your child for the rest of the day? God doesn’t waste anything, even on a seemingly small scale.
We see this in large scale tragedies as well, such as natural disasters and 9/11. We see people rising far and above in terrible times. And as we hear these heroic stories on the news, they inspire us to do better in our own lives. That’s God not letting these situations go to waste.
So the next time a friend or family member is going through a hard time, try reminding them that God doesn’t waste. Remind them of His power and sovereignty, and how He mysteriously works. And if you’re going through a hard time yourself, focus on how God can use it for good.