Notice what he said:
Not one thing, but ALL things;
Not some things, but ALL things;
Not most things, but ALL things;
Not nothing (no thing), but ALL things...
There are times when this just doesn't feel true. But it is amazing how time and the Spirit of God has a way of making me realize the power and truth in this statement. Let me give you just one example.
When I was growing up, around my middle and high school years, I was responsible for ironing my father's work shirts. Ironing dad's shirts really annoyed me. I was good at it, but it was a chore that I absolutely despised. Like any chore, I enjoyed it when I first started doing it, but when mom would call me home from a friend's house or my sister's house or would wake me up to iron his shirts, well you can imagine what happened. Add to this, EVERYONE made fun of me because of it. It was, and still is, the biggest joke among my sister's friends. And I hated it.
For the most part, I was good at it. But the fact that I despised the chore coupled with teenage girl rebellion and laziness led to many a burned shirt. (I did not rebel by cutting school or hanging with the wrong crowd, I dragged my feet in my chores.) Anyway, my dad's good shirts were ruined because I did not want to do the task. I did not understand why I had to do it. I hated the interruptions of my life because I had to iron his shirts. I hated the monotony of ironing his shirts: right sleeve, flip, left sleeve, flip, back panel, flip, right front, lift, inside right, slide over, left front, lift, inside left, lift shirt, collar. Did I say I hated it?
But today, I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
But how could an annoying and monotonous chore work for my good?
In the mornings, as hubby is getting ready for work, I choose his shirt for the day and head into the laundry room to press it. The first time I pressed one of his shirts, I was grateful that I knew how to iron a shirt. (Thanks mom!) Hubby is crisp and sharp when he leaves the house. But more than hubby looking good, I now understand the time not as a monotonous chore, but rather as an intentional time of prayer. I pray for my husband's commute, his day at work, his health, his strength, and all things concerning his life. As I flip and press, slide over and press, lift and press I pray for God to bless him and give him peace. Instead of complaining, I pray. Instead of being annoyed, I am overjoyed for the opportunity to go before God on my husband's behalf.
And so, in this small thing and in all things, whether I understand or not, whether in a storm or in not, I now recognize that ALL things really do work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.
Amen and so be it.
image taken from http://www.garmentcare.info/ironing_wrinkles/how_to_iron_a_shirt_like_a_pro.html