“GOD’S STORY, your story” - Pt. 17
If I were to ask you the question, “What is it that most concerns you?”, I’m positive that your answer would fall into at least one of these categories:
- the economy, and specifically your job, or lack of a job, personal finances and debt
- your health, involving fitness, sickness, dieting, medical coverage and more
- your relationships, spouse, children, dating partner, parents, or combination of them
- your possessions, like how to get them, safeguard them, and upgrade them
- state of the world, including war, poverty, crime, pollution, the ecology, etc.
- deep questions, like is there a God, what’s life all about, what happens when we die
There are probably other categories that I could add to this list, but I think these six would cover the majority of concerns that most people think about and are anxious about. Whatever it is that we might be worried about, there is one common element that weaves its way through all of these areas of life. Namely this: uncertainty. None of us can or ever will know what will happen in the future, and that can lead us to frustration and anxiety.
For many months now, I have been writing articles on the topics that Max Lucado has included in his book “GOD’S STORY, your story.” In chapter nine, Lucado does an excellent job of helping us to realize that even though we often fail to understand what is happening in our lives and why they are happening to us, that God is still in control of the situation and is at work all the time to bring good out of the situation.
On page 137, Lucado writes this:
We know…. There are so many things we do not know. We do not know if the economy will dip or if our team will win. We do not know what our spouse is thinking or how our kids will turn out. We don’t even know “what we ought to pray for” (Romans 8:26). But according to Paul (in Romans 8:28), we can be absolutely certain about four things.
Lucado goes on to state what those four things are, and I will summarize what he has to say to us. Let me quote Romans 8:28 here so you have the context in front of you. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” The first thing we know is that “God is at work…” This immediately counters two negative positions, the idea that there is no God (Atheism), and the idea that while He may have created the world, He is no longer involved with it (which is called Deism).
No, God is very much at work in our world. And the good news is that “God is at work for our good…” This will counter a number of negative ideas about the character of God. Some people think God is a punishing god, sitting up in heaven with a big stick and just waiting for us to step out of line at which point He will whack us. Neither is God an ambivalent god who doesn’t care about what happens in our lives. But He also isn’t a bigger version of Santa Claus who panders to our every wish and whim. Rather, God is actively seeking to do that which is going to be for our very best, helping us where we most need help.
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The third thing that Romans 8:28 tells us is that “God is working for the good of those who love Him…” I will repeat what I said above, that God is not a punishing god. But on the other hand, God is definitely seeking to bless and reward those people who have committed their lives to Him, to live in obedient service and worship to Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. That does put the responsibility upon us to be actively seeking to please our God. And the neat thing about God and His blessings is that as we share the blessings that God gives to us with others, the more that He ends up blessings us. When we become a conduit of His love, then we end up experiencing even more of His grace and love. Isn’t that fantastic!!!
Finally, the last thing, and perhaps the most important thing, is that “God is at work in all things…” If we truly believe this, then we can face any circumstance or situation in life. When things are just clicking along and everything seems to be falling into place, we can thank our God who is actively bringing about these wonderful blessings in our lives. But then when things are not going well, even in the most challenging moments of life, we can be confident that God will do all He can to bring good out of that situation, no matter how terrible it might be.
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As many of my readers already know, our family has faced many difficult and trying experiences in life. I think of all the categories I listed above, I believe that critical health challenges are the hardest to face as those are usually the most out of our control events. In our immediate family then, from 2002 – 2005, our older son went through three years of chemotherapy to battle against the leukemia in his body. Then, from 2008 until the present, I have battled with my genetically inherited muscle disease that has limited my mobility and has caused extreme levels of pain.
And yet, for both me and my son, we have seen God’s hand upon our lives in special and powerful ways that we would never have experienced had we remained in good health. And for both of us, who have remained strong in our faith in God, we have seen our lives and testimonies touch countless numbers of other people. And in many ways, this has come about because we believe the promise within Romans 8:28, “that is all things, God works for the good to those who love Him.“
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* [God’s Story, Your Story] Max Lucado. Copyright [Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011] Used by permission.
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