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Linda Beck: Where’s the good in that?

Since the multiple sclerosis exacerbation and two hospital stays in July, I wrote a story about Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It is hard for even good Christians to find the truth in that during bad times. Some folks think it is amazing how I find anything that happens with my health “good” when they know all the “bad” things I have been through in my life.

I can only reply by telling them how I believe and love a faithful God who has a purpose for me. He enables me to share my feelings and hopefully help others to look into their hearts, souls, and minds to find the good in their lives in spite of their struggles.

I’ve written several stories about my relationship with my brother, Michael, who has experienced many negative events in his life, and I asked if it was okay for me to write about this discussion. Michael is really my half-brother because we had the same mother, but different fathers. (We really don’t feel “half” because our love for each other is “whole.”)

Michael has another half-sister in Atlanta because they had the same father. One night after speaking with her, he got out his father’s family Bible to check some dates and some papers fell out on the floor.

Mike told me later that I had made him cry when he read those papers which happened to be the story I wrote about us after he had the stroke about nine years ago. He said there had been some “happy tears” and many “sad ones.”

While sharing lunch one day, we discussed the story I had just finished about Romans 8:28. Mike said, “You know I used to believe that, but I’m not sure I do anymore after that stroke turned my life upside down the way it has.”

“Michael, how can you say that? Think about the good things, not the bad. Tell me one good thing that happened after the stroke.”

He laughed, and said “Well, I don’t have to get up early to go to work. But you know I loved to work and miss meeting new people and helping them discover how to finance the cars they want to buy.” (Mike had many different jobs, but for the longest period of time he was financial manager at several car dealerships.)

“Mike, I want you just to think real hard about any good that has come out of this eventful happening.”

“Well,” he replied, “I can walk now even though I could not for awhile after the stroke happened.”

“Okay, but what was the one restriction you hated the most? What did you recover that meant the most to you?”

“Driving again,” he said.

“Now, see, I told you some good things come to those of us who love the Lord and have been called according to his purpose. Maybe part of his purpose for you was to have the time to visit me and help the many ways you have. You had no way to do that when you were unable to drive.”

“Michael, I love you and appreciate all you have done for me. God is good to all of us who love him in spite of the “sad events” in our lives.”

Mike and I both have experienced some health issues with our families and even some people we called “friends.” We probably understand each other more than any of our loved ones do. After all, we went through similar verdicts about walking, driving, etc. There were some dire predictions about having to live in nursing homes, lack of transportation, etc.

We have both lost some of our abilities and forgetfulness is one we have in common. However, sometimes Mike thinks I don’t listen to him. (There are some others who think that also.) I had to remind him that some memory tests showed that I don’t have dementia or Alzheimer’s, but was told by a neurologist that MS can affect my memory just as a stroke could affect his. Thankfully, we can forgive each other easier than others are able to do. All these issues seem to be rather trite when I see what people lose during hurricanes, tornadoes, plane crashes and other disasters. So I urge everyone to love your fellow man in spite of their shortcomings. And be sure to say “Thank you, Jesus” when you see the good things in life that you continue to possess.

Space does not allow me to share the remainder of Romans chapter 8, but I encourage you to read Romans 8:29-39. We are “more than conquerors through him who loves us.” Diseases, strokes, or other sad events cannot separate us from the “love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Email Linda at lindainthecards@gmail.com

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