December 26, 2018
This past year, I kept a “Good Jar”. Inside, I placed anything that happened to the family that could be considered “good”. I ended up recording around 70 events or situations where I could see God blessing us in some way. Some of these things ended up being free admittance or meals. I also included good medical results and accomplishments or tests that the boys took. Some were simply the ability to see family who were far away.
But one thing I noticed is most of the good things initially started out from some stressful situation. Medical issues are never delightful. Mistakes in services received have to have an uncomfortable confrontation to be rectified. Studying for hours for college tests or practicing driving was stressful. Vehicle breakdowns were inconvenient, but having a place to fix the issues in the middle of nowhere was unbelievably relieving.
So, when bad things happen, how could it ever be termed “good”? How could my nephew dying of cancer be “good”? How could my brain tumor be “good”? What about my mother-in-law with dementia that leaves her as a bodily shell, unable to comprehend what she is doing? These life trials are definitely not good things in my mind. They are a result of living in a fallen world under a curse due to mankind’s sinfulness and self-centeredness. How could these be made good in the end?
It is easy to declare that it is not fair to have to deal with these situations in my life. But then I started to realize I was defining “good” with me as the center, not God. As a follower of Jesus, I have to seek to have Jesus at the center of my focus and thoughts. God’s will is always good. I had to remind myself of what His will is. God desires that all people would come to know Him. Many times when something bad happens to an individual, God is able to work the situation around and have people come to recognize and submit to Him. Though something not desired happens, God’s good and perfect will was able to be accomplished through me, his instrument of work. For this, I am grateful that my pain amounts to something beneficial. God receives the glory in the end and people have to take notice. I have to remember to pray for “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10), not my will.
In the meantime even when things don’t fit together in my favor, I have to remember God is good. And even in this fallen world, God still blesses us with more good things than we realize, though none of us deserve it. As a bare minimum, because of the struggles I go through, I have to keep myself from being self-focused. I must realize I have the opportunity to glorify God and be in that unique place that will allow me to be His representative of hope and light for others. Jesus wants to make a difference in your life too. Will you allow Him? Why don’t you try keeping a “Good Jar” this year and see what you discover? Just remember, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11).
Until we meet again,
p.s. Check out my link to “Two Ways to Live” if you are wondering how to begin to let Jesus change your life.