Written By Ana Chavarria, USA
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28
This is a verse many Christians know by memory. I have known this verse since I was a little girl but never took it seriously. I just kept telling everyone that God had a purpose for everything. That was my way of comforting anybody who was worried or stressed. But the reality was they were empty words—I didn’t really live by them.
It was not until a month ago that I really understood that verse. “All things work together for good” didn’t mean that everything was going to be good. Some things that happen in life can be and will be bad. But ultimately, everything (both bad and good) will work out according to God’s purposes and for our good.
The day I learned that lesson started at 3 a.m.. My boyfriend Ramon and I were going to Puerto Rico to visit his family; we were really excited to escape the cold in USA and get some warm weather. We reached the airport on time and were waiting to board the plane when an announcement was made that the flight was delayed. After waiting for three hours, we knew we would miss our connecting flight to Puerto Rico.
Then it got worse. We were told that our flight was going to be delayed even more—till the next day. Now, we were very upset. We had been so focused on having things go a certain way that we didn’t know how to handle the change.
We complained to the airline and its staff took 40 minutes to find us another flight. This would arrive in Puerto Rico at 5 p.m., six hours past the original slated time. By then, we were tired and hungry, and just wanted to rest on a clean bed. So we decided to wait one more hour to board the next plane instead of flying the next day.
The flight took almost four hours. Thirty minutes before landing in Puerto Rico, Ramon suddenly told me that he felt pain on the left side of his face. Initially, I thought it was just a temporary thing. But the pain worsened and it reached a point where Ramon couldn’t even talk.
Fortunately, the flight attendant was sitting right in front of us. I quickly told her that we had an emergency. The crew made a call to the ground support staff, so that they would have an ambulance ready to take us to the nearest hospital when we landed.
As soon as we landed, I called Ramon’s parents and told them what had happened. They immediately rushed down and waited with us for the ambulance to arrive. My heart was racing, but I tried to remain calm and answer the questions by the paramedics about Ramon’s condition. I remember thinking to myself, “What a day! All is going wrong! Why did he end up in the hospital? Why is this happening, God?” Deep down, I knew that he was going to be fine, but I just wanted to hear it from the doctors.
After five long hours of waiting, we had a diagnosis from the doctors. Ramon had been sick for the last few days; he was doing better but was still very congested from the cold, which had turned infectious. Apparently, when we started to descend, the pressure in the airplane was too much for him to handle; the infection had caused the severe pain in his face. The doctors gave him some medicine and told us that it was nothing serious. That night, we arrived home really late, at almost 2 a.m.. I was exhausted but thankful and relieved that Ramon was okay.
The next morning, Ramon and I slowly recounted the previous night’s events over breakfast. We both realized that the pain on his face was going to happen at some point because of his infection. But because our flight got delayed, our seats were moved to the row right in front of the flight attendant, where we could get help right away. If we had been on our original flight, we would have been sitting in the very last row and wouldn’t have had been able to get help so quickly. We were amazed at how God had moved everything so that we could get help on time. We thanked God and told our family how He had taken control of every single detail.
Sure, it was a tough day. Nothing had gone according to plan. But I can say with full confidence that ultimately, everything worked together for good.
There are going to be times in our lives when everything seems perfect. But change happens; circumstances are going to shake us. That’s when we need to tell ourselves, “Yes, it’s a bad situation and it’s probably going to get worse. But it’s not the end.” God does not forget us. He uses the bad moments to shape us to be more like Christ and bring us to a place where we wouldn’t have been otherwise.
Through this experience, God put my faith to test, so that I could learn to trust and believe that He has control over everything. Now if something bad happens, I will immediately remember this moment—when God showed me that He always has a purpose with everything that happens.
So let’s trust Him wholeheartedly. He is a good Father in the midst of our pain.