Romans 8:28 – We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (NRSV)
It was in the early evening hours of the second Monday in May this year when the emergency alert system sirens began blaring. The radio announcer warned everyone to take cover. A severe hail storm was moving fast toward us and a tornado had been sighted.
The sheltering time seemed interminable as the storm stalled overhead and pummelled our city with golf-ball-sized hail. When the all clear was sounded, I thanked God that I still had a home in which to live. I felt blessed because I had seen on the televised news this spring that many people around the globe had lost their homes to floods, fires, and various kinds of severe weather.
In the light of the next day, I discovered, as did many of my neighbours, that the exterior of our homes had received quite a bit of damage. The roof and siding on my home would have to be replaced. There was also water damage to the interior of the lowest level of my home. I am embarrassed to say that my prayers that night took on a totally different tone. Out of anger and despair, I questioned God, asking the usual "Why me, Lord?" followed by "How could anything good possibly come from this?"
After making arrangements for the exterior damage to be repaired, I needed to address the interior damage. In order to facilitate the interior repairs, I would have to remove everything from my downstairs storage room. In all honesty, that room had needed my attention for some time. I had just been procrastinating. Because clearing that room would require multiple trips up and down the stairs, I knew that I needed help. So, on the recommendation of a friend, I hired a young single mom named Kathy, who helps my friend with cleaning chores.
We started our project by sorting things into three categories: (1) things to put in the trash, (2) things to give to charity, and (3) things to keep. During this sorting process, I opened a plastic container filled with blankets and bed linens. Since I had not used any of them for quite some time, I made the decision to give them to charity. As I did so, Kathy softly commented that she knew some little children who didn't have blankets or linens for their beds. "Let's put them in a plastic bag so that you can give them to the children," I said. Before we finished, we found other items that Kathy could use which we loaded into her car when she was ready to leave.
That night as I said my bedtime prayers, I prayed with a contrite heart, I'm sorry for doubting You, God, and I asked for forgiveness. Then, I thanked Him for providing this opportunity to help others who were in need.
As I climbed into bed and pulled up the covers, a smile came to my face. I was thinking about those little children who would no longer sleep on bare mattresses. Now they would feel safe and warm in their beds knowing the comfort of being covered while they slept. Then just as I was drifting off to sleep, an old adage came to my mind, "Those who haven't questioned God haven't encountered God."
Is there a storm of some kind raging in your life, making you doubt and question God's plan for you? If so, perhaps it is time for you, too, to ask God your questions.
Prayer: We praise You, Father, for always listening to our prayers, even when our human frailties cause us to express our anger and despair. Please forgive us. Thank You for showing us that all things really do work together for good and that there is healing in helping others whose need is greater than our own. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.
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