August 03, 2008

God Works Through Trial

Romans 8:28-39

In all things God works for the good of those who love him.
Romans 8:28


Today would have been my dad's birthday, but liver cancer took him years ago. During the final two months of his life, Dad was cooped up at home; pain and medical equipment were his constant companions. One day he complained to me, “I wish I would have died fast with a heart attack, instead of this slow, miserable death.” I agreed with Dad that a heart attack would have been easier for him. But I also suggested that his slow passing was a gift from him to the rest of the family. We children and grandchildren shared memories, asked him questions about his past, offered words of love and appreciation that we never would have said if he had suddenly been taken from us. On one occasion, several of his grandchildren sat down with him and pored over maps of Europe and my dad's mementos of World War II. The audiotapes we made of that conversation are precious to all of us. I suggested to Dad that the weakness, pain, and discomfort of his cancer offered the entire family a way to connect with him in deep and loving ways. Dad agreed. Dad loved God. The cancer wasn't good, but God took Dad's cancer and worked it for good. In your love for God, look for the ways God can work your trials for good too.

Sometimes I hurt, Lord. But I trust that you are working good through every trial. Help us to see your works, O Lord; they truly are amazing. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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