“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.” – Romans 8:28
A couple of days ago, my family and I came home from an overnight trip. We were all tired and arguing about silly stuff. The kids were bickering back and forth and my wife was trying her best to control it, but we were all hitting our breaking point. Well, my digestive tract also hit its breaking point during the long car ride. I was heading to the bathroom, but I still arguing all the way there. Not to be crude, but just at that moment, I passed a large amount of gas that made quite a noticeable sound. Where there was disagreement and bickering was now stunned silence. Then, laughter erupted. After that, it was like the family did a complete turnaround. That simple toot was enough to break the tension and gave us all a chance to stop and think about what we were saying. Instead of blind anger and annoyance, there came an understanding between people about how their actions affected each other. There were apologies send around and my family members went their separate ways in relative peace. What started as a rough and argumentative morning was changed all because of some common bodily functions. We had a pretty good day after that, which goes to show that God will use truly everything for His good.
God will put us into situations that call for us to extend mercy and love, but He will also give us a moment to think about it as well and make the change for the better. Whether it’s a person cutting you off in traffic or the cable TV going out, you will never be faced with a scenario that God doesn’t build in a way to take the holy path. A little while ago, my wife and I took the kids out to a nice restaurant for dinner. It’s not something we get to do too much, so we were looking forward to a good dinner and quiet time spent together. That night, however, quiet was not on the menu. A table away was a young set of parents that were dealing with their two year old child’s meltdown. You could see the frustration and anxiety in the mom and dad’s eyes. They just kept looking over at the tables around them, mortified. The child had an outburst and the mom looked over and apologized to my wife and I for the child’s crying. Even though we were stressed because of the crying, my wife Monica brought it down to earth, so to speak. Monica looked at the young mom with compassion and said, “It’s Ok, we definitely understand. These times won’t last too long. It gets better.” Those words were exactly what that couple needed to hear. We saw their faces change and suddenly, it wasn’t so bad and they could get through this rough patch.
That situation wasn’t ideal. Neither I, nor my wife, nor the young couple ever wanted a screaming and unhappy two year old to be in a normally quiet restaurant, but sometimes there needs to be faults and rough patches for grace and mercy to abound. If everything was perfect, there would be no need for compassion. The trick is to see the best in others and the worst in ourselves. We’ve had crying and inconsolable babies once in a while in our younger days. We know what it’s like and we also know that our anger at that moment won’t change anything; it’s like adding gasoline to a brush fire. We don’t need further stress and strife, but normally we don’t think of that. We only think about ourselves and how we are inconvenienced at the time. Did you ever have a time that you had to stop in miles of traffic only to find out it was an ambulance at a car wreck? Were you a bit angry and relieved to get past all the mess and on to your destination, or did you take a moment and pray for those affected by the accident as well as the first responders involved? Or how about a time that an elderly lady took what seemed like forever in a checkout line to dig through her purse for some change? Were you exasperated by how slow she went or were you compassionate towards her because you, too, will be slower when you get past your prime?
The point is that God and His Holy Spirit will use common, everyday situations to make you more like Christ. He will chip away at everything in you until all that remains is Jesus. It takes a long process for a pebble to get polished by the sand and the river, but what you have after the process is done is a beautiful piece of the Master’s artwork. The Bible says that you are God’s masterpiece. You are one of a kind and not something that can be done overnight. Sure, God could miracle you into being a saint, but that’s not His way. He will use small things every day as a process to create a better and lasting saint out of you.
Look for those opportunities to grow every day. And remember, God can and will use all things, even the occasional bout of flatulence, to the betterment of His children.
God’s blessings to you.