Brother Lawrence said, “He (God) often sends diseases of the body to cure those of the soul”. This means that even in the midst of intense suffering in life, God is at work shaping the heart of the person. Joseph of the Old Testament had a heavy dose of hardship which was then supplemented by God’s grace and an understanding of purpose in it. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, only to find that he would later be in a position of power over his brothers during a lengthy famine. As we know, Joseph did not take revenge on his brothers, but blessed them. Later on in the story, Joseph’s father dies and the brothers once again are afraid for their lives. They figure that once their dad is out of the picture, that Joseph would finally deal harshly with them. But Joseph’s response showed God’s work in his life and his recognition of it. He said: “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being down, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50: 19-20). Joseph recognized God’s hand in the midst of hardship and grew as a result. Later in the new testament it says, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
I was supposed to go to the yearly district conference for our denomination on Monday. However, I got sick and ended up staying home. While it is a bit discouraging to have to miss part of it, I also have to ask God what He might have or me in it. I have been going at a fast pace lately, so maybe it God’s provision for rest. I certainly don’t have all the answers, I just know that as I rested I did have a real sense of God’s presence in it. The mortality of mankind is all around us and is something we all get surprised by at times. So many people are suffering. I did write an article with some of my thoughts on why God allows suffering, if you are interested in that topic. My point is that I had a plan and God changed my plan. The ‘why’ is not always clear, but I trust Him.
On church on Sunday we sang the song “Blessed be Your Name.” Honestly, this song is one of my favorite songs because it brings to bare much of the struggle people have with the sovereignty of God. “You give and take away!” In the midst of it all, we choose to worship God because He is worthy. As I sat around on Monday, I heard my boys sing this song as they played with their toys. I can’t even begin to describe how heart warming that is for me. God used my children to, once again, remind me that each day is a gift and His plans are far better than mine.
I don’t know what the rest of my week will bring, but who really does? I do hope to make it to the last part of the conference, but if I don’t, I will still choose to worship the Lord and keep my eyes open to what He has in it.
“The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshippers of God we can be” – Brother Lawrence – The practice of the presence of God: Conversations and letters of Brother Lawrence.