Over the past two lessons from our Cape Breton trip, we've seen that good always comes out of bad situations, for: "...God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Rom. 8:28 NLT). I firmly believe this, and sometimes I'm known as the "eternal optimist" because I am always looking for the "silver lining" that God has placed in the "black cloud". Sometimes, however, that optimistic attitude does run out...

It was my birthday, and we were officially on our way home from Cape Breton. We were camped outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and I was told it would be a "short" drive to Edmonston, New Brunswick, where we would spend the next two days. That meant there would be plenty of time before breaking camp to visit the many things in Antigonish that we had missed the previous day, and we would be in Edmonston early enough to be able to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday...

We'll just say the day didn't go quite as planned. The road to Edmonston turned out to be 150 kilometers farther than we had originally anticipated, but we wouldn't learn this until AFTER we had spent the morning in Antigonish. As a result, we didn't get to our campsite, which was still a 30 minute drive from Edmonston, until well after 7. As it was nearly dark, I knew that by the time we got our trailer set up, it would be far too late to drive to Edmonston and go out to dinner...

I had anticipated this the moment I learned that Edmonston was farther away than we had thought, and this realization soured the entire afternoon. The kicker, however, came as we were trying to set up camp in the last of the natural light. The lock on the outside storage bin door, the one where we stored the tools required to set up the trailer, was jammed. We couldn't even unhitch without that tool box, and the only way to get to it was to set up the trailer, completely tear out the bed--quite a feat in a 12 foot trailer!--rescue the box, fold the trailer down again, unhitch, level the trailer, and then set it back up properly. Oh, and then of course I would have to completely reassemble the bed...

It all seems pretty trite now, but at the time it was the last straw. There was no silver-lining that day, and I was certain this was the worst birthday ever. Why did all the bad stuff have to happen on my special day? Why couldn't it have happened the day before or the day after? Hey! Why did it have to happen at all?

Isn't that how it seems to go in life? One bad thing piles upon another, and although sometimes we can see the good that is brought out of the bad situations (see Parts 1 and 2), other times we are left to wonder "why"!

But wait. Perhaps this is part of God's ultimate plan after all. When we don't see the answers to our "why" question, we have but two choices: We can convince ourselves that God doesn't care, or we can choose to believe in God's promises, even when we can't "see" any reason or solution.

The first option, unfortunately, leaves us void of hope, cut off from any potential comfort. It leaves us feeling as if we have no choice but to fend for ourselves, producing even more stress at every corner.

The second option, albeit the harder one to grasp, leads to the building of patience, strength, character, faith: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." (Rom. 5:3-4 NLT).

It actually doesn't take much faith to believe God will come through when we see all the answers; but it takes an enormous amount when no reason or solution can be seen. Remember that: "Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see." (Heb. 11:1 NLT). It is through this belief in what we cannot see that we are rewarded: "Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation." (Heb. 11:2 NLT).

I believe that though we may not always see the "why", our faith in God's promise that He, "...causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God..." (Rom. 8:28 NLT), will ensure that one day we will see the same trials and circumstances from God's perspective, and we will see how that particular hard time actually works itself into the beautiful fabric of God's plan.

Troubles upon you and no "why" in sight? No matter how hard you search you can't find the "silver lining"? Choose to believe in God's goodness and mercy, and especially in His promise that all things work together for good.

Oh, and don't worry if birthday plans don't go the way you anticipate them to go...There's always tomorrow!
           
In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click here.)