” 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.”
There is this promise in the Bible. I’m not a Bible scholar, I have trouble sometimes just knowing where all the chapters are (sshhh). You know, that awkward moment in church or Sunday school when you are told to turn to a certain book, and you are sitting there, your mind is going through songs you have heard your kids sing, hoping you will turn somewhere near the right book. New Testament, Old Testament questions run through your mind, and then ultimately, Mathew Mark Luke John, Peter, or is Peter Mark, oh man. Note to self, must memorize (make time) the order of the books of the Bible. (stop procrastinating)
BUT (before veering off the subject), every time I see something senseless happen or someone runs upon a really rough time, this verse pops into my head. Probably because I have taught some Sunday school and AWANA, and at some point memorized that verse. Thank you God. But really, at a moment when I am trying to either make sense of it myself, or console someone else, Romans 8:28 pops into my head. Ahh, old faithful. Like a warm fuzzy blanket. It covers a lot right. Sick? Romans 8:28. Heart transplant? Romans 8:28. Massive public shooting spree in a movie theater, Romans 8:28. (maybe that is a sign that I do need to learn more verses)
This week however, God introduced me to a new verse that also makes promises, similar to Romans 8:28. Or at least how I experienced it this week.
” You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ”
This week, I was fortunate enough to help in vacation bible school at my church(hmm, my church). I have only attended this church for about a year. And have not gotten involved with any activities until now. I never thought I would say this, but I miss the organized chaos of working with young people. You (by you I mean me) would think having three 6 year olds would be enough, but somehow I just love the feeling I get around kids coming together to learn about God. And maybe even more, the feeling of knowing that somehow, I was a part of them getting there.
This week, I saw Romans and Genesis played out before me. I won’t go into great detail about how God orchestrated my time and whereabouts to end up exactly where I ended up on that Thursday morning, but somehow I managed to wind up in the sanctuary, during the time the pastor was talking to the kids about making a decision for Jesus. I sat in the back of a dark sanctuary (I was suppose to be taking pictures and this seemed too private of a matter to photograph) while Pastor Dave talked to the teens about giving their lives over to Jesus. He called for them to sit quietly, eyes closed, reflecting and praying, and, for those wanting and willing to make a choice for Jesus, to stand up and pray with a teacher or adult standing near.
Insert teen attitudes. Some were respectful, some were not. Most were quietly and inconspicuously looking around to see who was going to stand up. My thoughts went quickly to eye rolling and head shaking, thinking how silly these kids are and I remember oh too well, as they say, been there done that.
I don’t know if they wanted to stand up and were afraid. I don’t know if they were going to make fun of those who would stand up. I don’t know if they were waiting for it to be over. All I know is that it felt awkward. From where I was sitting, I didn’t see a single teen stand up. And although I do not know how many teens there were, there were a lot. We had almost 400 kids there that week. (I’m still in awe of what this church did this week, but that’s a whole other post)
Then, the pastor looks around. He asks the kids, “what are you waiting for?”. Here these kids are, sitting in their seats, almost a week of learning about Jesus, singing, playing, being loved, and they reach a moment in the week, where all is quite. They have the opportunity to change their life, similar to the life that was being changed on stage that week in a very well written skit performed by teens! And they sat there. Scared. Or arrogant. Or both? Bummer. Huge let down.
But then, Pastor Dave only had to say one thing. He told them they may not get another chance. Just like those kids and adults who went in to see the movie in Aurora, CO, would never get the chance to hand their lives over. They are dead and gone.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. ”
See, I have interpreted many times, that this particular verse in Romans, to me, meant that no matter what comes at you in life, how evil, how horrible, how unexplainable it was, God would spin it around and good would come from it. I believe evil is of the world. And bad things happen, and God is not to blame. And yes, he allows these things to happen. But, he will make a bad situation work out for the good, for His purpose. And while looking up that verse this week, because of the shootings, God directed me to Genesis. Oh yes He did.
” You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
When Pastor Dave mentioned the shooting to those teens. An overwhelming thing happened. They stood up. By the handfuls. They just kept standing up. To pray. To accept Jesus. To stop waiting and procrastinating. They realized we do not all get another chance. So many teens stood up, that they were running out of space. Out of adults. It literally brought me to tears and even again when I shared the story a day later.
I understood that God does work ALL things to the good. And that although this world IS evil, He will turn it around to “accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” I have prayed a prayer of thanks many times since Thursday, that I got to see those verses worked out. That God’s word was taught to me thanks to Vacation Bible School. That through the helping, blessing, and teaching of others, God is still teaching, helping and blessing me. That was the biggest blessing I have had this year.