Reminding Ourselves that IN ALL THINGS God has Purpose

Categories: Bible,Crossing Cambodia,Principles,Ramblings of the Asian Caucasian

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.

Romans 8:28

 

11402384_433120296860771_2124297265851103219_oRecently my wife wanted a tattoo on her shoulder with flowers and butterflies and the names of our children.  She wanted to do something to make herself more beautiful (as if she weren’t already the most gorgeous woman alive) and feel more confident as she grows older, so we made this her Mothers Day Present.  While we were negotiating with the artist he offered to finish a tattoo on my leg that I’ve slowly been getting done, little by little when I could afford it.

 

2015-06-26 22.34.00I know not everyone likes tattoos, but this one on my leg is important to me and I  had it specifically designed to be a visual reminder to me of my faith and of how God works in everything and its one I hope will enable me to share this story.  On my shin is a wooden cross with a trinity knot at its center, on the inside of my leg is the verse Romans 8:28 in English, and on the outside the same verse written in Khmer.  The idea being that every time I sit down and cross my legs I’ll see that verse and be reminded that God is working in everything.  Hopefully, when others around me look at it, they’ll see the verse in Khmer and ask me about it.

 

A lot of great things have happened this year, we don’t want to discount all the people who have come into our lives and done wonderful things, but at the same time 2015 has been a very difficult year for me and my family.  We started off the year with Sinuon’s mother being extremely ill and diagnosed with HIV and her eventually passing away in March.  While initially we found comfort in having so many awesome people around us, the longer period of adjusting to life without Mom around has been difficult.  That process of realizing many of the small things she did for us are no longer happening can be tough.

 

We’ve been glad to mend a broken relationship with Sinuon’s adopted brother, and we’ve also accepted responsibility for helping his children with schooling.  However, recently, my brother-in-law’s wife also has been ill and hospitalized.  She recently had surgery to removed a mass from her neck and we hope and pray her recovery goes well.

 

Crossing Cambodia has been growing and new things continue to happen, but teams, volunteers, bringing on new staff, communicating with our board of directors, trying to manage the finances of a growing ministry, and the process of trying to pull myself out of the day to day work of Crossing Cambodia to make it more independent, all while dealing with family struggles, has been stressful to put it lightly.  This year I’ve found that as the “boss” in Cambodian culture, I am less closely connected to staff and students, often missing out on important days and fun events.  When we had only 5 students it was a lot easier to be a part of everything, but the bigger we get the less time I get to spend with each individual in our ministry and be close to them.  All the while I am reminded that not only does my family depend on me, but 20+ other people are depending on me to get an education and earn an income, and that number will only continue to grow.

 

All the stress from these things has had a negative impact on mine and Sinuon’s health as well.  I have found myself sick more often than in years past and have been having recurring migraines.  Sinuon has been having stomach troubles for a while now.

 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel depressed and ready to quit at times.  I am presently contemplating the idea of taking a sabbatical later this year.

 

But right now I sit down and look at my leg, and I read Romans 8:28 once again.

 

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.

 

When I was young I was bullied.  I had big goofy glasses, got made fun of, was never picked for sports, and struggled to make friends.  And sometimes I wondered why God could let me be like that.  There were times I cried and asked God to make me normal and cool.  At that time there was no way I could have known what God was doing.  God didn’t make the other kids tease me or ignore me, but God was using it to prepare me.

 

Fast forward about 15 years and I found myself among street children that are bullied by the whole of society around them, who are teased and called awful names just for being ragged and dirty, who never asked to be born into such situations.  While I can’t say I comprehend what it’s like to live in abject poverty or have family situations like they do, I had an idea what it was like to know the feeling of not being wanted and knew that no matter how strange or difficult they might act or how dirty and unattractive they might be that God had prepared me to do something for them.

 

And right now I sit down and look at my leg, and I read Romans 8:28 once again.

 

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.

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Yes Romans 8:28 is often thrown around a lot, and not everyone grasps the meaning of this verse.  The “good” is not something better that is coming down the road for us, but it is God equipping us and enabling us to share His love with others.  For me my trials as a child were for my own good, humbling me, teaching me, training me to have empathy with others in similar situations, and perhaps there is even more purpose yet to be revealed.  Even in the times when we can’t see it, God is working for our good, enabling us to carry His love forward, according to His purpose.

 

The first half of 2015 has been tough for me and my family, and I don’t take comfort in others telling me that this is just a season in my life or that things will get better.  I take comfort in knowing that even when I struggle God has purpose and is using that event in my life to prepare me for something else, for another opportunity to share His love with others.  That even in the turmoil of the world that we sinful humans have created, God is still capable of working through it for our good!

 

I have been called by God and He is constantly preparing me for another opportunity to put His love into action.  God sees through all the craziness we’ve created in this world and has compassion on us.  He gave us Christ and His word in the Bible so that we might have peace.  What greater comfort can I have than knowing that even in my lowest points, God is working in my times of trial to equip me for His purpose?

 

So right now I sit down and look at my leg.  And I read Romans 8:28 once again.

 

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.

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One Response to "Reminding Ourselves that IN ALL THINGS God has Purpose"

  1. Jen Lewis Posted on June 26, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Sending so many prayers your way, Greg. God so richly blessed me the day I met you, your staff, and the kids in February 2014. My early morning trip with you to pick up the kids was so meaningful to me, something I will never foeget. Stay strong, my friend. God’s got this.

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