Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Evil for Good

It's always amazing to me (although at this point in my life it shouldn't be) how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. When we least expect it we are used in such a way to touch the lives of other people not by our own design but by the moving of the Holy Spirit. I have been leading the bible study at work for the last 2 weeks and as I was preparing the lesson for today, I was at a dead end as far as how to present the material. We were studying the last half of the eleventh chapter of John. It tells the story of how the Pharisees begin to actively plot against Jesus to bring about His death.

As I was reading the scripture and poring over commentaries and reference books, I just couldn't get my mind around the point I wanted to make about the passage. It was right there on the tip of my brain, but I couldn't draw it out long enough to see it clearly. Then last night as I was laying in bed (with no preparation done for today's study) I made the connection between the passage and the fact that God uses evil for good in our lives. As I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking of the passages of scripture that I wanted to use as reference. There was one in particular that Chris had used in Sunday School recently that really reinforced the concept of God's sovereignty.

That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the LORD, do all these things.’
Isaiah 45:6-7

When I got to work this morning I received the news that a fellow employee was being let go. This was by no fault of her own and not a reflection on her performance, but a byproduct of downsizing and the uncertainty of the future. Ever since Memorial Hermann bought out our hospital, we have had many changes for the better. Overall, it has been a very positive merger and we have been satisfied with the way things are going. But, as with all merges, there are areas of uncertainty and upheaval and the cancer center seems to be one of those areas. Our doctor is uncertain of her tenure here, the patient load is dropping with no referrals in sight and as a result she had to let Becky go.

We are a tight knit group and when something bad happens to one of us, it happens to all of us. We are all in a state of semi-shock about Becky and we hate to see her leave our little group. So, as we gathered for bible study today in the conference room I realized that what I prepared was exactly what everyone needed to hear. We are not immune to bad things just because we accept Christ. Bad things happen to good people, even Christians. It is our response to those things that sets us apart from everyone else. Will I choose to praise God through my circumstance, being sure of His sovereignty and power or will I choose to lean on my own limited understanding and be broken and hollow because of what I cannot comprehend?

I had several people approach me after the study and tell me that what I said was exactly what they needed to hear today. That made me praise God that He was glorified and exalted by my preparation and study. Thank you God. Thank you for using me even when I am unaware that I am being used. Thank you for the work of the Holy Spirit that my heart might continue to be broken and reshaped for your glory.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
II Corinthians 4:16-18

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