Our youngest daughter turns forty-one on Wednesday, and in such a short life, "she could write a book." Cheryl has experienced many unique things, and each event could make a wonderful chapter. Oh, of course, there are events that would make a chapter that wasn't so wonderful, but when her life is over, and she is approaching her departure time, she will look back on those chapters as being positive as well. We have a wonderful promise in the Word of God that says He works ALL things for good for them who love Him (Romans 8:28). Yes, unpleasant and even horrible chapters fit into God's plan as He molds us into the image of His dear Son. While I am sure that bad experiences produce many doubts and questions about why God allows such things while going through "the fire," when the trial is over, the wounded are much stronger. It is like a broken bone; the place where the break occurred, when healed, is stronger than before. So it is with life's obstacles.
In the verse I mentioned, there was a qualifier. God works things for the good to those who love Him. For one thing, it is only those who love Him that are able to look back and see His hand in it all. I am not certain, but I believe that He works all things for good to those who do not love Him, as well, but they are unable to see the good in it. In 2 Peter 3:9, we are told that God does not want anyone to perish, but that all would come to repentance. He didn't allow His children to spend over four hundred years in bondage in Egypt because He was mad at them. He allowed it to bring them to a place where they would trust in Him. It is our trust or faith in Him that produces righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Job is a perfect example of one who had the right idea during the trial. He said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). It is my prayer that Cheryl will be able to praise God every day, during the good and the bad chapters of the book that is her life.
Many years ago, when Cheryl was four, she was sitting at the dining room table eating her supper, when she suddenly said, "Daddy, Guess what." I asked her what? She said, "Daddy, I just asked Jesus into my heart!" I stopped what I was doing and called her to come sit on my lap. I asked her, "Do you know what that means?" She said, "It means that I want to mind Him." In all my years as a Christian, I have never heard an adult put it any better. Four year old and Cheryl got it. To her, God was worthy of obedience. She knew Him as Lord. Even though she has had her ups and downs in life, there is one thing of which I am certain. Cheryl is a child of God, and as such, she will weather any storm that the devil is allowed to send her way. And, God help those who Satan uses to make her way stormy! I am proud of Cheryl. She is a winner. I know that one day, she will be just like the One into Who's image she is being made. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness toward His children (and mine). Amen.