There are many cases in the Bible where God used a bad situation for the good of one or more who believed in Him. Joseph, Moses, David, and others all faced difficult situations which caused them to grow greatly in maturity and faith. It is too easy to look at a bad situation and become discouraged or angry or both. We ought not do that. There may be a very good reason God has permitted such a situation to bring about some growth in His children.
For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. – Philemon v. 15-16, ESV
Onesimus should not have left and come to Paul. Surely this would have upset Philemon. Onesimus was his bondservant and was obligated to remain. However, Paul makes the point that perhaps the reason Onesimus did go was to be put upon a path leading the Lord. This made him a brother in Christ of both men, rather than just an unbeliever and a thief. Given this, Paul pleads with Philemon to temper his response with this in mind.
I know that on my journey to become a Christian I went through a very dark time when I didn’t know what to believe. I couldn’t argue with the Gospel, though I so wanted to. If, if, if, and if was the question repeating over and over in my soil. If I could something else that made as much sense, if I could find a flaw in the Gospel, if I could something that brought me peace… And of course, my search for something other than the Gospel proved fruitless. However, in order to get to the point where I could brokenly accept Christ, I needed to spend time in those darkest days.
After I came to faith, my roommate and I talked about those dark times. He was really worried about me. We had been roommates before, when questions of faith didn’t weigh on me. And then he watched as I descended into the struggle for my soul. He knew there was little he could do. So he prayed. He prayed that God was drawing me to Himself, and in fact, God was. What my roommate didn’t pray for was for how things were previously to be restored. He also didn’t pray for a new roommate who shared his faith. He prayed for his current roommate to be made new.
Therefore, we must carefully consider God’s possible motive for every situation. Rather than jumping to conclusions or reacting to what we see before our eyes, we should instead pray for discernment and wisdom. Let us understand what God’s will is, how He is working, and how we might be able to participate in God’s plan. Because maybe, just maybe, the darkest days are intended to reveal the brightest light. I know in my case that was certainly true and the Bible has a rather lengthy roster of those who experienced the same. We need to trust God, even when we can’t see it.