It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
- Acts 12:1-4
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
“James is killed by Herod, while Peter is miraculously spared. God’s providence and plans are not easily understood. He uses us in different ways and allows different scenarios to play out in our lives in ways we cannot fully understand. He allows good and evil to exist together, often side by side in settings Where that is uncomfortable. Things that you or I may never fully understand until we stand face—to—face with Him in heaven.
“I had one of those experiences when I was in Indianapolis, coaching the Colts against my former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a Monday Night Football game. On primetime television. On my birthday.
“It was my ﬁrst time returning to Tampa after being fired, and I was sure it was going to be a night of redemption for me. That had to be God’s plan. Instead, with just over four minutes to go in the game, we were behind by three touchdowns, and I found myself thinking, What kind of plan is that, God?
“Next thing we knew, we had won the game in the largest comeback in Monday Night Football history. It was unbelievable, and I was so grateful for the way we won that night—miraculously! But as I look back now, l often ask myself, What if God hadn’t allowed us to come back? Could I have accepted that as His will?
“We may not like to admit it, but our minds are ﬁnite and limited in their ability to understand everything that happens to us. As much as we would like to and often try to, we can’t predict the future. And as much as there are people who try, they cannot understand the infinite mind of God. We cannot see the scope of God’s plan for our lives and the lives of others inextricably woven together for good. And to be perfectly honest, would we really want to see all the details?
“There’s really only one thing we need to know: ‘God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them’ (Romans 8:28).
“UNCOMMON KEY > When God unfolds His plans in your life that you don’t understand, don’t ask why, ask what. What do You want me to take away from this, Lord? Trust that God will show you one day how it all ﬁts together.”
- Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life (Devotion for 1 June, emphasis (without bold and italics) the author’s)
This is the first time, I think, that I have copied the entire devotion by Tony Dungy. It seemed to require everything.
But I can still add that I agree with him. Just a week ago, the Sunday post quoted Alex Seeley admonishing us to not ask “why,” in her chapter on “Worry vs. Worship.” Not asking “why?” is a common theme regardless of whether we are worrying, trying to forgive someone who continuously wrongs us, or simply trying to figure out God’s plan for our lives.
Two years ago, nearly to the day, my wife started kidney dialysis. It wasn’t just the three days each week of having dialysis done, it was the doctor appointments in between those three days. It was the calls making appointments for those visits to the doctors. But why should I whine about the time spent, when the work was designed to sustain my wife’s life?
But when we first started, I had felt a call, just a month earlier, from God to write a philosophy lesson (essay) once each week, a Bible study once each week, and a Bible quiz once each week. The COVID lockdown had caused people to disconnect from the church and I felt those things were needed. In other words, I went from writing seven posts each week to writing 10 posts each week.
I asked God whether I had been listening to His call when I increased my writing allotment. His answer was emphatic. “You will know that it was the will of God when you are able to maintain the pace without going bonkers.” Or words to that effect.
Other than skipping the philosophy posts for about six weeks, I have not only kept up the pace with no gaps, but I am ahead of schedule. Not bragging, just presently in a good position to keep up the pace. I might go two or three days without writing, but then it seems that the next three or four posts seem to write themselves and I am back where I was before.
What I am saying is that if it is God’s Will, God will demonstrate the fact, through His power, in a very dramatic way. Winning a football game is not a big deal in the overall scheme of things, but for Tony Dungy, winning that game in a miraculous way, was a big deal to Tony Dungy and his journey of faith.
This thing about all things working for the good… In my life, most of those things might be considered bad things to the casual observer, but each time it grew my faith in God so that I rely on Him even more.
And that’s not just good. That is very good.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.