I study every Friday morning with 7 of God’s loveliest daughters. We are learning about how to be whole people in body, mind, and spirit. We study from Bible Study books from First Place 4 Health. This 12-weeks session we studied from a book called A New Beginning. This Friday we are having a celebration breakfast and will share a healthy breakfast and how we have grown over the past couple of months of the study. In preparation for sharing, we are to go through the weekly Bible studies we have completed this session and pick out the ideas that were meaningful to us. It is Easter Sunday as I type this and I am reviewing the materials I had completed from week 2 of the studies. As I read what I had written in response to the study questions, I saw “good” unfold for me in a new way. My favorite verse in all the Bible is Romans 8:28
28 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. (NIV)
Although something has always drawn me to this verse, I could never quite grasp its meaning. How could all things be for my good? Ann Voskamp shed a lot of light on its meaning for me as she taught me to be thankful in and for all things. An attitude of gratitude changes me and the environment about me. That has to be good for everyone. However, I still had trouble believing that there was much good in suffering. What is good about pain, emotional angst, hunger, isolation and grief? The problem was my definition of “good”. I realized that when my study book said, “…when God talks about our good, He doesn’t mean our immediate comfort or happiness. He means that He is making us more and more like Jesus,…” (p.31) I receive this revelation today as my greatest gift this Easter 2013. The Life Application Study Bible tells me that this gift is not for everyone, its commentary on Romans 8:28 says, “The promise can only be claimed by those who love God and are called according to His purpose…They trust God, not in life’s treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them. (p.1895).
I was with my first son yesterday and watched him struggle getting used to new medication for his panic attacks. He is really suffering. He has been suffering for over a year, but he is also clinging to Jesus and serving others who are suffering in the same way. He says he would never even have seen those people had he not suffered himself. His new “eyes” were established in suffering. Oh, how difficult for a mother to watch, but such a comfort to know that the suffering is not in vain. My son is so brave. I pray this cup passes from him soon. He is looking to Jesus.
God is with us,