God's truth in my suffering

Russell family Over the past year or so, my life has undergone a lot of change. My Mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed away after battling the disease for nine months; I graduated from Presbyterian College and wrapped up my college football career; my best friend and I got married and moved into our first house; and I recently began a new job with Campus Outreach Greenville. Too often, I think about each one of those events and quickly give them a label: the good, the bad, the ugly. However, in the midst of change, God promises that He does ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). During a season of life in which I have both mourned and rejoiced, that biblical truth is difficult, not only to understand, but also to embrace in daily life. How do I reconcile that verse in Romans with my Mom's tragic and premature death? What I have been learning is that God's idea of "good" and my understanding of the word are often incredibly different. A long, healthy life on Earth may seem to be the epitome of a good thing, but no one or nothing in our fallen world is good except for God (Luke 18:19). What He has promised me, as one of His children, is more of Himself and the opportunity to dwell in His house forever. So, while my human tendency is to judge the nature of my circumstances by worldly standards, God has been giving me the grace to hold firm to a handful of truths. He loves me. He is sovereign. He knows what is best for my life, and He is ferociously committed to His glory and my sanctification. Psalm 115:3 says that, "Our God is in the heavens; He does all that he pleases." If nothing happens apart from God's sovereign will, then His plan must include each and every thing that has ever happened to me. I am becoming increasingly thankful that His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

- JJ