Good News, Bad News
If you’re a regular reader, please pray for my wife’s sister, Donna. She’s in the fight of her life dealing with a blood clot, pneumonia, cyst on her pancreas, and now internal bleeding. Up until a week ago, she was in perfect health! Makes you think about bad things happening to good people… And it reminds me of what I’ve seen over the years…
It’s a long process to become a Nazarene pastor. You can’t just walk in off the street. One reason is that you’re sometimes privy to special information. Some days it’s great to be the pastor, like today! Two church peeps I’ve been praying for had good news reports about their health and opportunities. You can feel the joy in someone’s life when the Spirit blows a fresh breeze. Two great conversations, one of which ended in a prayer of thanks. God has been busy in their lives! I’m waiting for the same kind of report for Donna in the near future! In a sense God has already been working because many of these problems wouldn’t have been discovered in time to help if she hadn’t had the cough!
When I was a volunteer staff member during seminary we observed days where we said, “It’s a good day NOT to be the padre!” Some days you’re privy to bad news. The deep sadness people face can seem overwhelming. Except it’s not. Because a pastor (like any mature Christ follower) knows a secret:
Romans 8:28 (NRSV) We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
It’s not always clear at the time. Life is rarely simple or easy. But God always shows up somehow. He often leaves the messiest fingerprints all over the place. It can be easier to see after the fact.
Once I was visiting a man in the hospital. He’d been in ICU 44 days. Body systems were shutting down. The doctor sat the family down, telling them to say good-bye. I went in to pray with him and he was thrashing about. I prayed, “Lord, if he’s ready to go, please end his suffering. But if he’s tossing about because he’s not ready, please bring him back and change his life.” Not too long after that he woke up and asked for a sandwich! He’d only been to church a few times in his life. But he got well and started doing the church thing. That led to the God-thing. He confessed his faith in Christ and actually became a member! Next, he started getting his extended family to attend church. They wanted in on these good things, too. So many blessings came out of his initial suffering. The echoes will continue to be heard in eternity. Paul writes:
Romans 8:18 (NRSV) I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
We’re praying for you Donna! So please remember, God’s good news is powerful stuff!