In the 8th chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul shares a profound verse of God’s love and care for us. He writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”, (v.28 NASB). This is an unbelievable verse about the providence of God even in all our difficulties. It is important to point out that the verse doesn’t say that all things are good but rather “God causes all things to work together for good”. I think I can illustrate this principle by sharing some physical difficulties that I’ve recently been going through.
This past summer I started to notice some significant lower back pain. By the fall this pain was so significant that it was starting to seriously affect my sleeping pattern. In November I found out that I have arthritis in my lower back. But when they took an x-ray they also discovered a calcium cluster in my left kidney. My urologist suggested waiting 2 months to see if it had grown before deciding what to do. At the same time I also started physical therapy for my lower back. When my daughter Ashley and I went skiing over the Christmas vacation, I was sure that my skiing days were over. I had way too much fear that I would fall and that would be it. Also the constant pain was very uncomfortable. But the PT was very helpful in strengthening my lower back and relieving my sleeping problems.
In January I had my kidney x-rayed again and discovered the cluster had grown 50% in just 2 months. The doctor suggested “we” could wait to see what happens. I told him “I am going to Israel in April, let’s take care of it now”. So on Monday of this week I had the procedure performed to break up the cluster. Had my back problem not exposed my calcium cluster who knows that might have happened? Maybe I would have had a kidney stone attack while in Israel. I’ve already had 4 or 5 kidney stones and having one in Israel would have been very disruptive to my studying at the Holocaust Museum. All things work together for the good, even painful things when God is in it.
I also found out something else about my health as I prepared for this kidney procedure. Last week I got a call from my doctor that something had showed up in the EKG and that I would need a cardiologist’s authorization before proceeding with the procedure. This was very unsettling. I went to the cardiologist and he did another EKG. That EKG indicated that sometime in the past I had had a silent heart attack. I believe this occurred 7 years ago when I was vacationing in Michigan. We had tickets to fly home the next day so when my wife suggested calling an ambulance I refused. Probably not the wisest thing I’ve ever done but at least now I know what I experienced. Shortly after returned from Michigan in 2007 I joined a gym where I do cardio 5-6 days a week. This is a very healthy thing given what had previously happened. I will also be doing a stress test in March to make sure there are no further issues. But I am very thankful for my back problems that exposed these other issues and I do believe that God is truly working everything together for my good.
Even when I don’t understand everything He’s doing I still stand amazed at His majesty and Jesus’ care for my life. How about you, have you found that God is able to take even the difficult and bad things in your life and turn them into some source of blessing?
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo