"Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." -Lamentations 3:32-33
The Lord took no pleasure in my broken neck. Like any father who has compassion on his children, it pained his heart to see me hurt. Yet at the same time, it pleased the Lord to permit my accident. My spinal cord injury was something he sovereignly designed in and for his good pleasure.
God's ways are so much higher than ours, he has the capacity to look at the world through two lenses -- through a narrow lens and a wide angle one. When God looks at a painful event through a narrow lens, he sees the tragedy for what it is. He is deeply grieved. In Ezekiel 18:32 he says, "I take no pleasure in the death of anyone." God feels the sting in his chest when a child dies of cancer or a husband is killed in an accident. However, when God looks at that same event through his wide angle lens, he sees the tragedy in relation to everything leading up to it, as well as flowing out from it. He sees a mosaic stretching into eternity -- it is this mosaic with all its parts, both good and evil, which brings him delight.
In the span of a single verse, the Bible asserts "the Lord brings grief," yet "he does not willingly bring... grief." God tried this out on himself. He willed the death of his own Son, but he took no delight in it. God saw how Jesus’ death would demonstrate his incomprehensible mercy, as well as bring his people to glory. God often wills what he despises because -- and only because -- he has a wide angle view on the world.
Lord, too often I have only a narrow-lens view of my world -- give me your perspective and may I rejoice in the beautiful mosaic I will one day understand.