In my last blog, Life is Hard and Unfair—not a very encouraging blog by the way—I was very sad about my niece suffering from cancer. Sometimes when I read the Psalms, the author will start out extremely distressed about the circumstances of life, and then, at the end of the Psalm, the author is praising God, remembering who God is, remembering all the ways God has protected and provided and been a refuge in stormy times.
I kind of did that in “Life is Hard and Unfair“— I reminded us that Jesus has a new home free of pain and suffering for us, apart from this earthly home—but I did not encourage us in this earthly life. I think that kind of encouragement is so needed. In Psalms 27:13 it says, “I would have despaired, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.” In other words–if I did not have hope in this life on earth, that I would see God’s goodness, I would despair.
So—I’d like to tell a story—a story that I hope will help encourage.
In the year of our Lord, in 2000, I lost my dear, dear friend to breast cancer. She found out she had cancer when she was pregnant with her 5th child. She died 5 months after her 5th child was born.
I was devastated, as were many other people. My friend was funny and full of faith, and she was greatly missed. She still is greatly missed, and she died over 19 years ago. She knew God and when she died, she left this home for her heavenly home. I know I will see her again in the next life, and that comforts me. But what about the family she left behind?
Her husband was and is full of faith. He decided that he would stay home with their five children, one of whom was an infant. God graciously provided for him to stay home with them, and then God also gave him another wife, four years after his first wife—my friend– died. Then God gave him another job, to help provide for his family.
His second wife was and is an absolute treasure, kind, compassionate, giving, a hard worker, a friend to all who meet her. She is a great wife and a fabulous mother and she has blessed her family and their church and community over and over again.
Here is one example of the Hand of God working: God brought together the daughter of my deceased friend and the daughter’s husband, (who grew up and lived in Alaska), through this connection with the daughter’s stepmother..as the daughter’s husband is her stepmother’s first cousin. (I know–I’m trying not to use names, and hope I’m not confusing you too much with my pronouns and descriptions. 🙂 ) Would the two have ever met without this connection? – We will never know. We know they did meet, and they now have 3 beautiful children.
This wonderful second wife was also the gifted, amazingly talented violin teacher to my daughter Julia—(read “Julia’s Gift” to find out more about this story)—who helped my daughter learn to play the violin and helped Julia’s heart to heal as well. She also teaches many others on the violin and has been the conductor for a youth orchestra that she started.
When I look at this story, I am reminded that God has a plan, and God’s plan is so, so, so good. God’s plan unfolds like a great tapestry. From the topside, the tapestry is beautiful and majestic. From the bottom side, it is a bit messy, threads may be hanging—it is not at all as beautiful as the topside.
Sometimes, we people are looking at life from the bottom side and it looks messy, we can’t see the pattern, and things look like they are happening without a reason.
However, sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of the topside, and it is an amazing sight.
I want to encourage you, that if you are in one of those times where things seem happenstance, and messy, and you are discouraged, to remember this story. It is just one. If you ask an older person of faith—they can give you so many more stories where God’s plan is so evident. I promise you will find yourself looking up and praising God and remembering just Who He really is. This story reminds me of the truth of God’s word—Romans 8:28: For God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. And also: Psalm 27:13-14: I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, wait on the Lord!!”
He knows what He is doing. He has a plan. We have the privilege of seeing it unfold!!
So Be Encouraged!!
P.S. Just tonight, my niece told us that the tests came back, and she is cancer free!! We are so, so happy!! Thank you God!! (See–just like a Psalm–I’m ending this writing in Praise!!)