How to See the Goodness of God in Suffering (Romans 12:12)

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How to See the Goodness of God in Suffering (Romans 12:12)

I recently experienced a time of great suffering. It all began when, without warning, I broke out in a severe case of shingles. Four months later, I am still coping with the residual effects of nerve damage this virus left behind – a reminder of its presence in my life. As if shingles weren’t enough, a serious fraction occurred between my grown children right at Christmastime, adding stress to my already fragile condition. Finally, my beloved dog of 17 years started to rapidly decline from the effects of a brain tumor and an advanced state of dementia.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel overwhelmed during this time. After all, the suffering from shingles is the most horrible physical agony I have ever known. It was a level of pain which kept me floating in a detached place. I was not able to concentrate on normal life events and responsibilities. I was helpless.

To suffer is like being held in a dark place where fighting to overcome is the only mission. Nothing else matters and the battle is intense. It is difficult and exhausting to fight every moment of every day just to keep mental focus and hope alive. During this time, I began to feel great empathy for those who give in to their suffering, those who quit, who stop the fight. My heart breaks for them.

For those who don’t know the Lord, suffering must seem like an unsolicited punishment with an unknown outcome. But for those who know the Lord, we know we can trust his goodness in the worst of times; we are not without hope.

Romans 12:12 provides a valuable guideline for getting through a time of suffering: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Joy. Patience. Faith. These are attitudes we can choose, carrying us through bad times. These attributes help us to see the goodness of God through the walls of our pain, as we focus on him rather than ourselves.

In my recent experience, just when I thought I couldn’t stand another day of suffering, someone would send me words of encouragement in the form of a card or deliver a comforting meal or call me to offer prayer. I even received a prayer shawl through a ministry at my church. I love to wrap it around my shoulders, remembering the hands which knit that shawl together as they prayed over me in my time of suffering.

God’s goodness was shown through the hearts and faithfulness of his people and his word. The more I focused on God, the brighter things became. Eventually, I was able to return to the normal routines of my life, but I could not have made it through this suffering alone. Things are better now, but I know hardship will come again one day. When it does, I will be ready to face it with confidence, knowing that God’s goodness shines through even the darkest places.

Check out an earlier post by Tammy here. 

About The Author
Tammy Vanella
Tammy Vanella
Hello, I'm Tammy. I have 20 years experience in ministry, and every year, God continues to grow my gift of mentoring. I love investing in the lives of those who are hurting and in need of comfort, direction and encouragement. For the last six years, I've been walking alongside women as they heal from the wounds of their sexual past, and my husband and I also mentor prisoners who are working on successful re-entry back into society. When not volunteering, I'm also passionate about singing, acting, writing and kayaking, plus loving my dogs, family and peaceful moments with the Lord. I live with my husband, John, in Northern California. We have three children, three grandchildren and four of the canine variety.
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  • Judy Miller
    April 27, 2014 at 7:25 am


  • Linda Dixon
    April 29, 2014 at 12:11 am

    “He searcheth the heart of man … and knoweth what is in the mind of the spirit . . . and we know that in ALL things God works for the Good of those who love Him.” – Romans 8: 27 -28

  • Linda Dixon
    May 8, 2014 at 12:42 am

    The journey with Jesus is almost indescribable . . . I can’t imagine even going through life anymore without Him to look to every day. Somehow He makes Everything better… whatever the situation is … if I just keep looking to Him. I want to Praise His Holy Name Forever – Amen

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