In his book The Making of a Leader, Robert Clinton describes what he calls “negative preparation items.”
God often prepares someone to accept the next steps of guidance by first allowing them to go through negative experiences during their present development phase….Negative preparation involves God’s use of events, people, conflict, persecution, and experiences that focus on the negative, in order to free a person from the present situation to enter the next phase of development with revitalized interest.
We need to be careful. Painful situations are not always a reason to leave.
God may want to use the situation to mature your character, as described in James 1:2-4, and this should not be confused with the negative preparation item in which God wants to break you loose from a situation in order to move you on to something you might not otherwise choose.
The negative situation leads to release, so that we “can be free to embrace a new ministry that would probably never have been considered without the negative preparation process item.”
God can redeem even the toughest experiences of our lives. In his grace, he can use even the negative experiences to launch us into the most fruitful and life-giving seasons of our lives.