"All things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28
Definition of word up: "I comprehend what you are saying and verify that what you are saying is true, my good brother." - Urban Dictionary
Romans 8:28. Word up, for my life. Thank God. Glory to God.
I have recently been going over my lifetime balance sheet again and again, classifying major events as blessings or hardships. Somehow, after everything hits the list, no matter how many things I put on the hardship side, the blessing side keeps winning.
Oddly, things I put on the hardship list keep popping over to the blessing side somehow. How can this be?
I'll start with the hardships, just because.
1. Get autoimmune disorder which causes complete hair loss. Hair still gone. (1996)
2. Get new boss. (2008)
3. Reassigned to lower position from dream job I've held for 25 years. (2008)
4. Sent to teach at a school for the highest risk teens in the school district. (2009)
5. One third cut in pay. (2009)
6. Other driver nearly totals my car with me in it. (2010)
7. Husband leaves me. (2011)
8. Lose the home my children grew up in. (2012)
Hmm. Bad scene.
Now here come the blessings over the same time period.
1. Both of my children become believing Christians. Still are. (1996)
2. Profoundly discover my own inner beauty and the accepting love of my fellow humans. (1996)
Wait a minute - that last one was because of the hair. So that makes the hair a blessing. Check off one hardship.
3. Get a whole year off with executive pay. (2008-09)
4. Sit down and write a novel which considers how the arc of a life story is impacted by the love of God. (2008-09)
5. Feel the tangible hand of God upon me through the writing process, which renews me from the inside out. (2009)
Sheesh. Those three were a direct result of the "new boss" and "reassigned from my dream job" hardships. And of course those hardships directly caused the "cut in pay" hardship, but the blessings were worth every penny in lost pay. So check 'em off. All three, check - check - check.
I think we're almost even. Next blessing:
6. Sent to teach at a school for the highest risk teens in the school district. (2009)
Wait a minute - that was on the hardship list! But the students - they're so smart and so passionate, and at the same time so neglected and so sad, that all one can possibly do in their presence is love them. And when you love them, the love they return to you is from a heart of gratitude, deep and rare.
BIG time blessing. Check it off the hardship list.
7. Had car completely rebuilt and got a new paint job. Improved my relationship with insurance company and super nice people at the body shop. (2010)
This one's obvious. Check off the car crash hardship. Besides, it's only a car, and we met an angel on the roadside when we should have been dead instead (but that's another column).
8. Find complete peace alone in the presence of God while enjoying a nearly drama-free life. (2011)
'Nuff said. You can guess which hardship gets checked off for that.
9. Find viable opportunity to move out of a property which is financially breaking me, just two years in advance of my retirement. This leaves me free to move wherever I please as soon as I retire without the burden of selling. (2012)
Besides, the house was only a shell. The love has always been separate from the bare walls, and our collected stuff which makes the house a home comes with us. That, and the love. Besides, the kids are in their twenties anyway. Check it off.
10. Add the blessing of deeply embracing the fact that love is more important than things, even though we have always known this. Now we know it better.
Hardships, 8. Blessings, 10. And most, if not all, of the hardships were blessings in the first place anyway.
Who but God can see what is for our good? His view is high and wide, while we lie on our bellies in this world, under His care. All we can know is one thing: He took on the ultimate hardship because He loves us passionately. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and I believe Him when He says that He won't.
And He has never proved me wrong in that regard.
Word up, it has all worked together for my good.