Tuesday, March 29, 2011


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. Rom 8:28

Jennifer was a patient of mine who gave me permission to share her story. Lymphoma once trapped her and her family in a year of great difficulty with chemotherapies and cancelled plans. When she was finally recovering, it was now time for her kids; so she planned a wonderful escape to a friend’s cottage on Pickwick Lake. Her kids were ecstatic but fearful. Her eight-year-old son prayed day after day that this time their plans for fun would not be cancelled. Finally the weekend arrived and so did the rain. The trip and family fun was washed away.

Her son then came to Jennifer and asked, "I asked God to let us go; why didn’t he answer?" Jennifer replied, "He did answer. His answer was 'no'." And then she added with wisdom well beyond my own, "God said 'no' to Pickwick so He could say 'yes' to something better."

Neither the heartbroken boy nor his mother knew at the time that her friends had already arranged for her family to share a wonderful week in Disneyland. When Jennifer learned of the gift, she was able to tell her son, "You see---God said 'no' to Pickwick, so He could say 'yes' to Disneyland."

Sometimes God just says, "No".

Life is often a struggle and often there flashes out before us something we think will make it all so much better. Each of us knows what that means in our own life, or in the life of someone we love. As people of faith, we plead for God’s "Yes"; we cry out to our Lord; sometimes he delivers us and sometimes he does not. Sometimes he gives us that great joy we have been longing for and sometimes he doesn’t.

So, sometimes we are stuck with God’s "No". And if that’s the way God handles our prayers, is there anything we can count on when we open our hearts to the Creator of the universe?


Whatever the circumstance that drives us to pray, we can definitely count on God to work "for the good of those who love Him". That’s what Romans 8:28 is all about. That’s the message of Calvary. God’s business is fashioning goodness out of brokenness, beauty out of void. When we suffer, God never wastes our pain. And when we long for that which cannot be, God will someday say "Yes" to something better.

So often that "better" is God himself, the Omega of our existence, in a way we have never known him, in a way so grand that some have looked back and told me that they thanked God for their pain.

Dear God,

Let me be confident that you hear my cry and bring to me your best.


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