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Wednesday, 03 December 2014 12:26

In All Things (Romans 8:28)

Written by  Mike and Lisa Conn
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Romans 8:28 has long been one of my favorite Bible verses--a “life verse” if you will, that has helped define my life and make sense of the seemingly senseless things that happen in a life time: 

For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

 

Mike and I have just returned from our third mission trip to Cuba in 12 months.  We had a Romans 8:28 experience that started on our first day in country.  Mike was trying to open a small bag of peanuts with his teeth when the unthinkable happened--his front tooth which was really a porcelain veneer--popped off, leaving a stump of a tooth that couldn’t be hidden or ignored.  Poor Mike was distressed at the sudden change in his appearance!  He momentarily found solace as he was able to “glue” the veneer back in place using some dental glue that a fellow traveler had brought in their luggage; however, it didn’t last long, shattering into several pieces as soon as he bit down at dinner.

 

My now snaggle-toothed husband worried for a while about what kind of “first-impression” he was going to make with all the fathers and mothers.  Leading up to the Saturday workshop on Character-Centered Parenting, Mike had three smaller workshops scheduled with the dads, followed by the moms, and then the four marriage and family leadership couples. Fortunately, Romans 8:28 is also one of Mike’s favorite verses.  As a result, Mike quickly realized that he could use the missing tooth to help teach two parenting concepts:  planned and unplanned challenges.  For example, the scheduled workshop was a “planned challenge” the required preparation in order to accomplish.  However, the missing tooth was an “unplanned challenge” to be faced and overcome.  Then, during the first workshop when Mike asked everyone to laugh when he smiled his snaggle-toothed smile, he noticed that many of our Cuban friends were also missing teeth.  And while we knew our dentist would be able to repair the tooth as soon as we returned home, the Cubans didn’t have that reassurance.  If they lost a tooth, as many do, then it was gone forever. 

 

For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  Mike realized that God would use this tooth crisis for His good--he just didn’t know how.  Later, after we returned home, one of Mike’s Bible study buddies pointed out that Mike had requested they all pray that God would make a way to help him connect with and identify with other fathers in Cuba.  God answered that prayer in an unexpected way by forcing Mike to swallow his pride and become more like his fellow man in appearance.

 

Another Romans 8:28 story was shared with us a few weeks before we left for Cuba.  In our Family Teams for Christ Sunday School training program, we are learning about “Our Spiritual Journey.”  While discussing how significant emotional events affect our walk with the Lord, a young wife shared with the group about a stressful time in her life when she lost her job.  Her identity was wrapped around who she was in that job, and she was crushed when that was taken away from her.  The tone of her story changed when she related how very supportive her husband was.  She survived that difficult time--that significant emotional event--because of his belief in her and his faithful encouragement.  Looking back, they both realized it was a defining moment in their history as a couple.  God used the loss of her job to show her that she could depend upon her husband’s love and support, even during the difficult times.  A challenging time in their marriage was used by God to strengthen their relationship with Him and their marriage forever.

 

What Romans 8:28 moment have you experienced?  Think back to a time when you were challenged by circumstance, only to realize later that God used that challenge for good, according to his purpose.  I am grateful that we serve a God who is always working the difficulties we face for our good, according to his purpose.

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Saturday, 03 January 2015 12:28
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