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Tuesday, 3 January 2012

All Things Work Out For Good...

I look out of the main window of our lounge, and watch the strong gale lashing heavy rain onto the window panes. As the deep area of a low pressure weather system drifts across the UK, I am just about housebound, not able to take out my equipment to start work on my domestic window cleaning business. Not that the job would be entirely impossible, but rather such an endeavour would arouse wrath from my clientele, who would be obliged to pay for the work done. So much for the first working day of 2012, a year that promises the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, both events looking so promising to be ablaze with pageantry glory.

The Christmas break is over, here in the UK it's the first day back at work for all of us who has a job. But for the benefit of our American readers, I need to add an explanation to the last twelve days of the winter break.

I understand that in the USA, there is just one day of holiday, Christmas Day itself. Then it back to work the next day, unless Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday. Christmas 2011 fell on a Sunday, perhaps seen by some as the worst day of the week, as the next day is a normal Monday morning, ushering in an average five-day working week. Now to all American readers, if what I had written is inaccurate, please let me know on the comments forum below!

Here in the UK, businesses (other than Retail) shut up shop on Christmas Eve, and remain closed right through until the January 2nd, with Boxing Day (December 26th) also a holiday. Because both Christmas and New Year fell on a Sunday, Tuesday 27th was also a Bank Holiday, and so was Monday, January 2nd. This makes today, the 3rd, the day all businesses re-open. This long, annual winter break had been slammed by the Press for many years, particularly over the 2008/2009 holidays when both Christmas and New Year (also a Bank Holiday) fell on a Thursday, which meant that businesses could not be bothered to open for the one day Friday 2nd, therefore remained shut until Monday January 5th, 2009, twelve days from Christmas Day itself. No wonder newspapers on that year went to town with their blasting of the bosses' apparent apathy which was the major cause of loss to the British economy by billions of pounds.

So with such a long respite from working over the Christmas period, today I was eager to get back to business, after twelve days of reasonably dry weather. But what do I find after getting out of bed? Fierce winds and heavy rain. Certainly not window cleaning weather. And I'm not alone. I would not at all be surprised that not a few employers of construction projects and of other outdoor occupations had told their workers to stay at home. But energy bills still need to be paid, the bank expect the mortgage to be paid on time, the landlord will still demand his rent, groceries still need to be purchased. Then there are those dreaded credit card statements which will arrive, after going into overdrive with the presents and other Christmas festive goods. So by natural thinking, the timing of today's adverse weather could not be worse! So screamingly frustrating. It would be tempting to cry out:

O God! Why, why are you messing us about? Do you get a kick out of all this??? You could have sent the rain over the Christmas break. We had all twelve days of holiday!

That would be the natural thinking of an outdoor worker such as myself. Then to add to this, I watch my neighbour, dressed in suit and tie, climb into his car to make for the office, where he expects to do well. Meanwhile, in the City, bankers trade and make a killing, executives receive bumper bonuses, and in the papers, a report is published that our train fares have risen by over six percent, bad news for the daily commuter, yet alongside this, our Members of Parliament were claiming refunds from first class travel expenses due to a loophole in the Parliamentary regulations. Meanwhile, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (our Interior Revenue Service) went soft on big money-making corporations while small businesses were hit hard by the Taxman.

Isn't there a God at all? Or is God the God of the rich, the middle-class, the well educated and the well-to-do? Is God, if sovereign, so crushingly unfair? Tempting it can be for me to think this way, at least I know better. Actually, the Bible does not teach fairness, nor that life would be fair for everybody. Rather it has this to say to all believers:

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. Romans 8:28.

I could add that while Christmas was centred on the birth of Christ, in Luke's Gospel we read the Doxology, where Mary cries out in Elizabeth's presence that, God had scattered the proud in their inmost thoughts, brought down rulers from their thrones, but have lifted up the humble, had filled the hungry with good things, but have sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:51-53).

In all things God works for the good of those who love him. No matter what sort of things life can throw at you, they are for the good. Yes, it's difficult to say that when you feel that you are suffering a day of clouds, passing through the deepest darkness, a sense of despair. Just after Christmas Day, I felt myself sinking into deep fear, the fear of Hell itself. I lay awake on the bed, literally trembling with terror and shaking all over. The fear kept going into Boxing Day, I suffered loss of appetite, I could hardly eat. I can identify with the writer of Psalm 88:

For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man without strength.
I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
You have taken me from my closest friends and you have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief.

While sitting next to my wife, and clinging on to her, I examined my fear and decided that an evil spirit had entered my soul late that evening, for the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, against there is no law - not terror! There and then I asked the Holy Spirit to fill me, and almost immediately the fear melted away and my appetite returned. But the fear came and went for the next couple of days, until the Wednesday, when I completed a stiff workout in the gym and was then bathing in the sauna. (Not very spiritual perhaps, but where in the Bible does it say "Thou shalt not Sauna. Thou shalt not take care of thy health"..?) Suddenly, while swimming, I was thinking of the Lord and of my salvation, I felt a tremendous surge of the Holy Spirit within me, and in my mind's eye, saw the Lord himself, in front of me, assuring me that I was his, and he mine. Soon afterwards, someone with me in the sauna mentioned that he reads the Bible from time to time. Immediately I blurted out excitedly, "Jesus Christ is my Saviour too!" It was after that I realised that if I confess him before men (there were three others in the sauna beside myself) then Jesus would confess me to the Father before the angels. It was a moment of sheer joy.

A typical Finnish Sauna

So what might have happened about midnight on Christmas Day? I think that God withdrew his presence. I believe it was an act of discipline in order for me to partake of his holiness. Lately before then I was becoming spiritually flabby, allowing sin to creep into my daily living, particulary over the Christmas festivities. But during the period of intense fear, I also felt a purification of my soul. And sharing my plight with the church elders I also found very helpful.

All things work out for the good of those who love God. Being disciplined by God is a good sign, a proof that you are his child. Furthermore, it would always be for the common good, so not to perish with the world.

The weather forecast looks better for tomorrow. I'm anticipating getting some work done at last.


  1. Great post to make me ponder on what Romans 8:28 is all about. It is true that things do work out for the best for those who love God, but it is not always clear to us at the time.

    I know when my son committed suicide several years ago, I studied this particular scripture day and night trying to figure out what good would come out of his death. I finally realized that God was telling me that all things work out for His Glory, not mine. There were several unsaved souls coming to the Lord after the celebration of my son's life. Everything does work out for the best for those who Love God and I can keep typing about other times God has blessed me but I have said enough.

    God's blessings to you my friend and may all things work out for you in 2012 that will bring glory to our Lord. God bless, Lloyd

  2. Great post, Frank. How often we focus on problems rather than on God, with the result we end up in fear and distress rather than realizing his blessings. Lloyd's comment just reinforces what you have stated.

  3. Hi Frank! Thank you for coming by and commenting. Your comment was the exact thing I was trying to point out in my post. That there are many people out there who actually believe that because they have the grace of God "on their side" they it gives them the right to live the way they want, to keep sinning, and still go to heaven. It sort of reminds me of a person committing a sin for example adultery, then collapsing from a heart attack and passing away. I have actually heard people say that they would still go to heaven because they had "confessed" Jesus as their Savior in the past.

    I'm sorry but that is definitely NOT Biblical. When someone accepts Jesus, repents, is baptized in His name and receives the Holy Spirit, their lifestyle should change. They should give up their bad habits and sin NO LONGER. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't see it that way.

    That is something I just have trouble understanding.

    I am so glad you are feeling better. I have trouble in dreary weather myself. I found out it's called "seasonal disorder". As long as we're having sunshiny weather outside, I'm fine. Even if it's cold. As long as the sun is shining I do ok. I feel good and I'm upbeat. If it gets rainy and dreary, I start aching and get really depressed.

    God Bless,

  4. I completely left my thoughts about your post. I am so sorry. I really enjoyed reading it. I get excited as well when I get to talk about Christ. It's so refreshing when I hear of other bold Christians like myself. After all, Romans 1:16 says "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek". I guess that's one reason I am partial to the New Testament because of all of the "boldness" scriptures from Acts to 1 John. That is part of the reason God formed us in the first place... to spread His Word. It takes more than Pastors. God appointed Pastors, Apostles, teachers, and others to spread His Word, and to do this we must be bold, because if not, then Satan will "beat us down", quench our spirit, and fill us with insecurity. The more we witness the bolder we become.

    God Bless,

  5. Dear Frank,
    Great post! Romans 8:28 has been a great source of comfort to me since I was saved. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts, which is why we often fail to understand at the time why something that seems bad to us is actually for our good and His glory. The part of Rom. 8:28 that is often not quoted is "according to His purpose," i.e. that He uses all circumstances to accomplish His perfect will for our lives, if we are yielded to the Holy Spirit.
    God bless,

  6. Hi There! Just stumbled along and found your blog. Great post. Love the Book of Romans and especially Romans 8:28.

    Please stop by and visit my blog and read about my dear friends son Harrison that is 15 and dealing with cancer. I would appreciate it if you helped pass the prayer chain along and reach out to your blogging community for prayer for this family. Please grab his button as well.

    Thanks so much,

  7. Hey Frank! I wrote a comment about your question for my book review post by silly me, I somehow posted it back on to mine, so I deleted it. I will try and remember basically what I said. Yes, the triune God is talking about the Trinity. Not everyone looks at God as being 3 separate beings as the Trinity suggests. The Trinity suggests that God is three separate persons. There are many scriptures in God's Word to suggest otherwise such as 1 Timothy 3:16 which tells us that God manifested HIMSELF in the flesh (born of Mary)and they called His Name Jesus. His purpose for this was to preach and teach us HIS ways, and ultimately sacrifice Himself (or the flesh and blood) without blemish for our sins. The Bible tells us that He looked but could not find a human that was without sin or blemish to be used as a sacrifice for our sins, so He came to do it Himself. The reason He calls Himself the SON is because he robed Himself in flesh and was begotten or born of a human woman. He is still God in human form. Since God is Omnipresent, He can be all places. When Jesus is praying to the Father, It is the flesh, praying to the Divine. When His flesh died on the cross, He gave up the "ghost" which ascended into heaven, then came back glorified as the Holy Ghost as our comforter. How else could He dwell within us? Anyway, that is a brief note of Oneness. He is God Almighty NOT in three separate people but One Lord. I have done research and the Trinity was actually brought into being by the Early Catholic Church. The Word Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible. If you will forgive my crude explanation, it kind of reminds me like an egg. You have the shell, the white part and the yolk, but it is all together and is still an egg. Just a thought.

    God Bless,