"who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:6-11 (ESV)The birth of a helpless baby in a dirty stable resulted in salvation for God's people. The excruciating suffering of Jesus did not end with death, but God raised Him to life again and exalted Him to a place of unrivaled honor. The Son of God willingly subjected himself to a life of sorrow so that your story could have a happy ending. The truth is, we all had a rough start. Every single one of us was born into sin. Every one of us was under the wrath of God, condemned to death. But the story doesn't end there.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–" Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)The good news of the gospel is not that God brings us from sickness to health, but that He raises us from death to life. We were spiritually dead and hopelessly unable to resuscitate ourselves, but God raised us to life with Jesus Christ by His amazing grace. If you have tasted the goodness of the gospel, The very same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8:11). If God can bring you from death to life, He can certainly bring beauty from your sorrow. Our God is a God of restoration, and every one of His people will have a happy ending when our savior comes again. Our hope does not end with the knowledge that "things will get better," although that is certainly a comforting truth, but we can rejoice knowing that every bit of our pain has purpose. The suffering that you experience, whether it be heart wrenching tragedy or rush hour traffic, all of it is meaningful. God is using every annoyance and heartache and inconvenience, to sanctify you, making you holy like He is holy. It is not meaningless, but all of it is necessary for your good. Yes, even the stomach bug. Your pain isn't an obstacle on your road to happiness, it is a vehicle used by God to bring you to unfathomable glory, a refining fire that makes you pure.
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)So let's rejoice in rough starts! The ending will be all the more beautiful for them. I don't know what the year will bring, and it may very well be difficult, but as for me, I am declaring 2019 a good year, because my God is a good God, and I know that He is working every detail of it together for my good. Joanna Kimbrel is a staff writer for The Daily Grace Co.