And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (KJV)
I know someone who is jokingly referred to as “Pollyanna, the Glad Girl,” a reference to the children’s books about the ever-optimistic Pollyanna. However, I’m afraid that the Pollyanna of whom I speak sometimes rubs people the wrong way because of her persistent belief that everything really will be good in the end.
When her email was recently hacked, her friends were commiserating about all the problems with repopulating her contacts, changing her password, and explaining to all the callers that yes, she knew she had been hacked, thank you very much. But after two days of responding to all those concerned, she had talked with friends she not heard from in a while and had even been reconciled in instances of a few cooled relationships.
As she thought about her dubious nickname, Pollyanna strolled down Memory Lane and recalled how she’d longed to return to school but couldn’t after stopping out to parent two children. Sadly, an unpleasant situation arose that required her to ask a counselor to step in. At the end of the sessions, the counselor suggested she return to school (as she had been hoping), and Pollyanna wound up being scholarshipped all the way through a master’s degree.
Some time later Pollyanna found herself in hot water again but persisted in believing that “all things work together for good.” This time she was defendant in a civil suit not of her choosing. After days in court, reams of paper, and hundreds of questions, Pollyanna walked out vindicated of any wrongdoing. Not only did the jury wish her well, but the judge came off the bench to introduce himself and shake her hand. Six years later, she married the judge.
There are so many instances in the Bible where God actually does work all things, even bad ones, for good: Joseph, David, Job, Paul, Jesus, and others. In every instance, the focus remains on God, not the circumstance and not the players. God is the one who is able through his creative power to transform the very thing that might harm us into a vehicle for his blessing. It’s just a matter of trusting that God means what he says—and not worrying about being called Pollyanna.
Father, if we were to honestly reflect on our past, we would see the many times when you were faithful to yourself and brought good from evil. That’s just your nature. Thank you. AMEN.