For Ultimate Good

03. September 2018 Blog Posts 12

My dad is a fearless guy.  And the most resilient person I know.  But he’s also the most intelligent human being I’ve ever met.  Sorry, grad school professors and transplant surgeons.  He’s got you whipped.

 

With such good genes, I thought by this age, I’d surely know everything.  But the older I get, the less I’m sure of.  I do know a few things.  I know miniature dachshunds are the best dogs in the world.  I know mint chip ice cream will fix anything, temporarily.  I know “better late than never” is a lie.  And I know God is good.

 

If I’m being honest, sometimes that last one can waver.  Most of the time I would say I believe it with all of my heart.  But times come when I do question.  Usually when something in my life seems out of my control, and I sense that God has abandoned ship.  The pain, the betrayal, comes in knowing He can fix it.  And then finding myself in the Western Hemisphere where I can’t see the lunar eclipse, where I can’t see His hand moving.

 

My dad recently got a serious cancer diagnosis.  He just started chemo.   He will be 83 in two weeks.  Throughout my health ordeal, Dad has been one of my biggest prayer warriors.  Despite everything he is suffering physically and emotionally, he still signs thank you cards by saying “Pray for Lori Wood.”  I want him to be healed and whole, and yet I know the answer may be no.  I may not see God’s hand move in this situation.  Sometimes I wonder what a good God is trying to teach me here.

 

Truth is, hardships and disease and disappointments are not from God to teach us a lesson. Broken bodies and broken hearts are part of this broken world.  But God can use them, redeem them.  And as we learned from Job, He can allow them.

 

Here’s the glorious part: God will not allow an injustice or a suffering that will not one day be restored to overflowing.  Author Tim Keller puts it this way:  God only allows bad things to happen if they can become good, if they can eventually unravel themselves.  Evil in this world will ultimately undo itself.

 

Romans 8:28 says that everything works together for good for believers.  One day.  In the bible, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, only to find Joseph years later in a position to save them from starvation.  The brothers meant the separation for harm, but God used it for good.  Maybe more good than anyone could have imagined.  Job’s suffering also was redeemed to overflowing.  But as we live it, the questions arise.

 

In his suffering, Job was not asking for relief so much as for an explanation.  He was willing to suffer for a reason.  But when he needed God most, God was silent.  And when God did speak, He did not offer an explanation, only more questions.  We often never know the WHY this side of Eternity.

 

Tertullian, in the year 197 wrote about the Christian martyrs: “The blood is the seed of Christians.”  Killing them had the opposite effect of what was planned.  When one Christian was killed or imprisoned or driven out, ten more sprang up in his or her place.  The evil actually worked to spread the gospel rather than snuff it out. Satan meant it for harm, but God used it for good, multiplied.  Redeemed to overflowing.  But not in the lifetimes of those who suffered.  In this life, they never saw the WHY.

 

Maybe part of the answer is that bad things equip you for work that only you can do. Though it’s a position you never would have applied for, you become the perfect candidate.  Because of what you’ve been through, because your journey was unique. For Joseph, it was the saving of many lives.  For us, it may be something on a smaller scale, but no less important.

 

Out of our greatest pain, comes our most important ministry, our most important work in the Kingdom.  Our greatest gift from the Spirit to gift to others in pain.

 

Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers to those of us who grew up watching and learning in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, is a perfect example of this.  Fred’s wife revealed something he didn’t talk about much. Growing up, he was heavy and was given the nickname “Fat Freddy.”  The bullying and teasing scarred Mister Rogers.  But it also equipped him.  And in a bigger way than anyone might have imagined when it was happening.  Fred’s wife said, “If there hadn’t been Fat Freddy, there wouldn’t have been a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

 

I can look back on my life and see how God has redeemed situations for good beyond my wildest expectations.  I know without heart failure, I wouldn’t be writing.  I wouldn’t be as close to my family, especially my dad.  Or as close to my God.  I am in a position now to trust in a God who can make abundant good out of the worthless, the rotten, the greatest pain I have experienced.

 

Do I always trust Him?  No.  Do I always believe He will redeem the worst day of my life for good?  No.  But I keep coming back because the Holy Spirit is continually tugging my heart into a relationship with the only One who can possibly redeem this broken life.  After all, what Job wanted, what we all want, is not so much God’s explanation, but God’s presence in the middle of the un-knowing.

 

I don’t know what ultimate good will come because of Dad’s suffering.  But I do believe that it will one day be clear. Redeemed to overflowing one day.  And maybe that day, Dad and I will both know all the answers.

 

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12 thoughts on “For Ultimate Good”

  • 1
    Donna Wright on September 4, 2018 Reply

    Beautiful, and so eloquently written!

    Thank you Lori!
    Donna

    • 2
      Lori Ann Wood on September 4, 2018 Reply

      Thank you for your faithful reading, Donna!

  • 3
    Sally McGovern on September 4, 2018 Reply

    Beautiful Lori. And so meaningful. Thank you. Love you.

    • 4
      Lori Ann Wood on September 4, 2018 Reply

      Sally, your sweet words mean so much to me. Thank you for your ongoing support! Love and miss you!

  • 5
    Linda West on September 4, 2018 Reply

    Lori, i enjoy your writings so much….i also feel it keeps me connected to your family. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I am your first cousin and alot older than you so you probably dont recognize the name. I have always admired your mom and dad. Gertrude was one of my favorite aunts when i was a kid. I remember seeing you at moms funeral, you did not look sick, as you are so pretty. I am glad to hear you are doing so well. Keep up the good writings. I have told several of my siblings about your site. Tell your mom and dad l will be praying for them. Sincerely, Linda Giefer West

    • 6
      Lori Ann Wood on September 4, 2018 Reply

      Linda, Mom still talks about you all the time! Thank you for reaching out and thank you for reading along. It is so great to hear from you.

  • 7
    Gary Halford on September 4, 2018 Reply

    Oh my dear Lori— This writing so brought back the vivid memories of my father, his years of suffering with poor health, and my constant wondering why. God has given me some glimpses of how my fathers suffering helped others but that did not come right away. I continue to prayer for you and your father. We may never know this side of heaven all the answers as to the why. I just continue to know that he will make it all clear one day when we are all called home and are all finally healed. Blessings Lori

    • 8
      Lori Ann Wood on September 4, 2018 Reply

      Thank you, Gary. Your thoughts have mirrored mine. I know one day redemption is coming for all of our painful pasts. Blessings, my friend!

  • 9
    Martha Halford on September 5, 2018 Reply

    Beautiful thoughts. Continued prayers for you and your dad.

    • 10
      Lori Ann Wood on September 5, 2018 Reply

      Thank you, Martha!

  • 11
    Carol Willis on September 7, 2018 Reply

    Lori another inspiring message. Hope ur dad is having a good week and you. I just go with the ”not smooth sailing but a safe landing for All of us that believe.. Carol

    • 12
      Lori Ann Wood on September 7, 2018 Reply

      I like that! And I love your attitude, Carol!

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