All Things Together for Good

I awoke this morning before I wanted to, and I felt compelled to share a personal thought with you.

I have a lot going on in my life right now, most of it good or very good, some of it not so good. As I lay in bed fighting the aching in my right hip -- more on that in a moment -- and resisting the slow but sure reawakening of my mind to the point where I couldn't go back to sleep, I was overcome by an assurance that, regardless of what is happening to me or around me, God knows exactly what He's doing. I actually had a sense that everything, the good and the not so good, was falling into place in a structured and deliberate fashion.

I can't tell you with any degree of precision what the plan is, but I know there is one and it's a good one because it's being orchestrated by a good God.

It's funny to me how God uses times of physical malady to speak into my life, and I hope there aren't too many more of these lessons I have to learn (grin!). As I write this, I am facing a total right hip replacement in less than three months, and I have an MRI scheduled this week to determine the nature of a mass on my right hip that is apparently unrelated to the degenerative arthritis. While my prospects for an improved quality of life following the surgery are high, it is wearying nonetheless that I'm facing yet another surgery, the seventh in less than six years.

My experience this morning, however, reminded me of that moment more than three years ago, as I lay in bed recovering from separate surgeries to repair my shoulder and two ruptured quadriceps tendons, when I surrendered everything in my life to the Lord and was granted the gift of lasting peace. It also brought me back to another episode in my life that rocked my world.

Over 10 years ago, I made the decision to sacrifice my time, my career, and ultimately my family's well-being in pursuit of elective office, thinking that it was God's plan for me. Much to my dismay, I lost the election -- in fact, I sensed that outcome even before the polls closed -- yet in the midst of one of the most humiliating and painful moments in my life, I recall God asking me in the midst of great weeping, "Do you trust Me?" The times in my life when I felt His words in my mind like that are very rare and I don't speak of them lightly. The power of His presence halted my sobbing instantaneously, and I answered Him, "Of course I do."

Things got a lot worse for me and my family after that, and the world would have forgiven me if I'd chosen to recant my declaration of trust. When I look at where we are today, however, and everything that has happened to lead us here, I am in awe of God's wisdom and mercy. The journey has changed me for the better, and my family has been blessed in ways I never contemplated. I now believe my decision to run for office was part of God's plan -- the only thing I got wrong was the outcome He intended. It wasn't about victory, but rather molding me into who He needs me to be to serve Him and His Kingdom.

So yes, as I lay awake in bed this morning, I prayed to Him and I told Him, "I trust you". I do, regardless of what is going on in my life or in the world around me. I can barely find the words to describe how I feel right now, but I am so grateful to Him. The trust He has instilled in me is unshakable, and while bad things may happen in the future, the words of Romans 8:28 are imprinted on my heart and in my mind from now until I meet Him in eternity.

"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."

Because of the trust He has granted me, I look forward to the future with great anticipation, and I can't wait to see what He's going to do next. I hope he'll forgive me for referencing a false god to honor Him, but as Zeus said to his son Hercules in the Disney movie adaptation of the legend, "Now watch your old man work!"

Amen.