In my small group study this past week, the teacher introduced the phrase "the gift of consequences." I love that description because I have come to trust over the years that everything God gives us, including the consequences of our actions, is good even when it doesn't feel like it. How can the consequences of a bad choice be a gift?Certainly, Romans 8:28-29 states it as a truth, but it’s not easy to believe when life comes crashing down because of our poor choices. How can we view the negative results of our actions as a gift then?
The key for me comes from two sources: my beliefs about God and the evidence from my own past. If I know in my heart that God is a good God who wants the best for me, and if I believe that he is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in control of all things, I can trust that the consequences with which I live are part of his good plan for me. When I review my life and recognize the ways that God has used my poor choices to grow my character and dependence on him, I can have faith that he intended them as a gift to me, his child.
As we move toward Thanksgiving each year, I find it helpful to consider the past year and the ways that God has worked in my life. Last year I wrote about being thankful in everything, and this phrase “the gift of consequences” refocuses me on a broader view of Thanksgiving this year. I plan to spend some time this month thanking God for the ways he has used negative situations, even the consequences of my own poor choices or thinking patterns, in a positive way—perhaps by causing me to look up to him instead of to my own abilities and plans. I can thank him for such consequences when I have his perspective rather than a human one.
How has God gifted you with consequences?