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Does everything always happen for the best?

July 27, 2016
By Pastor Roger Lemke , Pine Island Eagle

His wife had just died and he was left with three little children to care for. He was not bitter, but sad and lonely. Some of his friends tried to comfort him by saying: "You will find that it was for the best." While others said: "God won't give you more that you can handle."

Does everything always happen for the best? No matter how hard this man tried, he could not see how his wife's death was for the best. In fact, he felt deeply that she meant far more to the welfare of his family than he. And he wondered if he could not say this was for the best, how anyone else could?

In the face of life's tragedies such simple answers are "limp, anemic and even worse, not Biblical." The particular phrase: "God won't give you more than you can handle" is loosely based on 1 Cor. 10:13. However, the context is "temptation." And secondly, the phrase: "Does everything always work out for the best" is roughly based on Roms. 8:28 which says: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." The blessed assurance is not an assurance of the absolute best, but of some positive good that comes from loving God and doing your best for God and God's people.

The Corinthians and the Romans were richly diverse, but struggling congregations. They were trying to figure out how to live as disciples of Jesus in a culture saturated with the worship of pagan deities. These cults enjoyed having parties with all kinds of yummy things to eat and all kinds of people to meet.

"Come on, join us! We are worshiping Zeus at George's house today. We'll be serving up some tasty barbecue. It will be a lot fun, and it's a really cool way to network and add more people to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts."

Some of the Christians said to themselves: "What's the harm? My faith is strong, and in Jesus I'm free. I'm liberated from the restrictions of the law. Who cares about Zeus? I don't believe in him anyway."

Paul responds: "Hey, be careful. Your baptism doesn't immunize you against the virus of idolatry or temptation."

In life we are still going to be tempted to live for ourselves, not God, and we will still be tempted to give simple anemic non-Biblical answers to the problems of life.

However, in the face of all the senseless killings as the ones in Orlando, it would be so much better if we could respond with Jesus as he sobbed over Jerusalem and His people. Jesus wept and said: "Would that you, even you, had known the things that make for peace!" (Lk. 19:42).

Can you hear Jesus weeping over the mothers and fathers who are grieving for their child who was killed or wounded? Yes people die and Jesus cries. Things do not always work out for the best, and there are some things that are so difficult to handle, but as Jesus weeps may we look for an answer to His prayer: "Would you know and learn the things that make for peace."

No matter what tragedies come your way, may you keep on loving, trusting and doing your best for God and for one another, and God will see that some sort of good will come from it.

Roger Lemke is pastor of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church. The church is at 10360 Stringfellow Road. Call 239-283-1170 for service times and/or additional information



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