In her short story, “The Man in Bogota,” Amy Hempel writes about wealthy man in Columbia who was kidnapped for ransom. He had a serious heart condition and in order to keep him living, his captors made him exercise and quit smoking. Upon his release, his doctor told him that the kidnapping was the best thing to ever happen to him. The last line of the story reads like this: “He wondered how we know that what happens to us isn’t good.”
Now I believe that there are things that happen to us that are not good – things that no one should have to live through. However, I also believe and have seen time and again – how God can bring something good to pass – even out of something horrendous.
I think about how Americans came together so beautifully after 9/11/2001 – and how so much of the world offered their sympathy and support. I think about all the wonderful charities that were founded after the sudden loss of a love-one. And, I think about the new appreciation for friends, family and life that people often feel after a particularly bad diagnosis.
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called by his purposes.”
Let us pray: Loving God, we don’t always understand why things happen like they do. We don’t understand why there is suffering and hurt in the world around us. But we do trust that even out of heartbreak you can bring beauty – even out of our confusing troubled situations, you can bring about good. Even when we sit in the darkness of night, we can hold on to hope that one day the sun will shine again – that you will heal, reconcile, and restore. Be with us now, in this moment we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.