There are times when it might be difficult to know what “good” might come out of certain circumstances in our lives, particularly if those circumstances aren’t so “good”. This is a part of the faith walk that I cannot see: I trust (and often must make the choice to trust) amidst roads that seem to have no end, or among roads interminably dark. What is the end, the outcome? I cannot see some ends here on earth, and quite honestly, the path is not the neat and pretty little path with trimmed hedges that I must travel. I do know the final destination, however, the one that comes in the next life.

Here is an old quote that I came across a few years ago; it is instructive on the “permanent good” resulting from these circumstances.

“It is palpably clear and emphatically true that all that occurs in the Lord’s government of His people conspires for, and works out, and results in, their highest happiness and their greatest good. The gloomiest and most painful circumstances in the history of the child of God, without a solitary exception, are all conspiring, and all working together, for his real and permanent good.

The painful and inexplicable dispensations, which at the present moment may be thickening and deepening around your path, are but so many mysteries in God’s government, which He is working out to their certain, satisfactory, and happy results. And when the good thus embosomed in the lowering cloud of some crushing providence, accomplishes its benevolent and heaven-sent mission, then trial will expand its dark pinions and fly away—and sorrow will roll up its somber drapery and disappear!

All things under the government of an infinitely great, all-wise, righteous, and beneficent Lord God, work together for good. What that good may be—the shape it may assume—the complexion it may wear—the end to which it may be subservient—we cannot tell. To our dim view it may appear an evil, but to God’s far seeing eye it is a positive good. Oh, truth most divine! Oh, words most consolatory!

How many whose eye traces this page, it may be whose tears bedew it, whose sighs breathe over it, whose prayers hallow it, may be wading in deep waters, may be drinking bitter cups, and are ready to exclaim—”All these things are against me!” Oh no, beloved of God, all these things are for you! Do not be afraid! Christ restrains the flood upon whose heaving bosom He serenely sits. Christ controls the waters, whose sounding waves obey the mandate of His voice. Christ’s cloudy chariot is paved with love! Then, fear not! Your Father grasps the helm of your storm-tossed vessel—and through cloud and tempest will steer it safely to the port of endless rest!

Will it not be a real good, if your present adversity results in the dethronement of some worshiped idol? in the endearing of Christ to your soul? in the closer conformity of your mind to God’s image? in the purification of your heart? in your more thorough fitness for heaven? Will it not be a real good if it terminate in a revival of God’s work within you—in stirring you up to more prayer? in enlarging your heart to all that love the same Savior? in stimulating you to increased activity for the conversion of sinners, for the diffusion of the truth, and for the glory of God?

Oh yes! good, real good, permanent good must result from all the Divine dispensations in your history. Bitter repentance shall end in the experienced sweetness of Christ’s love. The festering wound shall but elicit the healing balm. The overpowering burden shall but bring you to the tranquil rest. The storm shall but quicken your footsteps to the Hiding Place. The bitter-cold north wind and the balmy south wind shall breathe together over your garden, and the spices shall flow out.

In a little while—oh, how soon! you shall pass away from earth to heaven, and in its clearer, serener light shall read the truth, often read with tears before, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

–Octavius Winslow