Skip to content

Bane to Blessing

July 20, 2020

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

Some of life’s greatest blessings rise from the ashes of heartaches. One of our sons was diagnosed with a serious disease at twelve years of age, and was physically unable to attend school several years later. An administrator at his Catholic high school suggested that we contact the Los Angeles Unified School District to arrange for a teacher to come to our home to homeschool him.  Because he would be separated from his friends for months, I finally convinced Bob that we needed to get a dog as a companion for him.  We settled on the hypo-allergenic Havanese breed because of the calm, yet enthusiastic characteristics of the breed and our son’s allergies.  Enter O’Reilly Reagan at nine months of age. He was without a doubt one of the greatest blessings to our family—bringing joy and laughter, and cementing us together with stories of his ongoing antics.  And Bob became his biggest fan!  Reilly is going strong at 16 ½ years of age, and he is still going for daily walks.  He continues to us bless us every day. He is sleeping on the sofa next to me on top of one of my quilts, as I write.

An antonym of bane (defined as a cause of great distress), is blessing. If you give it some thought, you can probably think of a time when a bane in your life was turned into a blessing that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.  Maybe you were rejected by several potential employers or schools only to find a better job months later or be accepted at your first-choice school a year later. Maybe, like me, you were diagnosed with cancer, but it was in the very early stages of development and completely treatable.  Perhaps you were in pain for months or years, until you found that you could be partially or completely healed with a new treatment or surgery. Or your engagement fell through but you later found and married your soulmate. Maybe you or your spouse suffered from infertility and you were blessed with a miracle baby. And so on and so on.

In his abundant grace, God oftentimes turns a bane into a blessing. We are reminded of his grace in this verse from Romans: “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).[1]   The word “all” is a critical part of the verse. Paul tells us that God works for the good of those who love him in all things.  That means that even though we endure pain in many forms, and even though evil exists in the world and in every human heart, God will find a way to work every single thing into his plan, “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  If you love God, and you have answered his call, he will take even the most difficult circumstances of your life and use them to bless you or to bless others.  He will turn it into something beautiful in his perfect timing.

What “something” will he turn it into?  Something that is part of his plan for salvation. Something to help ease a difficult circumstance in your life. Something that will play a note in his Symphony for Mankind.  You may not be able to see it while you are in the midst of the difficulty.  We cannot see clearly when we are overtaken by a wave of emotion that threatens our relationships, families, jobs, and other aspects of our lives.

During times of pain and emptiness—when you think that God is MIA, Paul reminds you that “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39).   Nothing and no one in this life or in the next will separate you from the love of God. His love is constant.  He is faithful, “keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7: 9b).

The blessing may remain hidden for a long time. Jesus spoke of God’s kingdom as “a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13: 44).  God’s grace is the hidden treasure of each sorrow, each bane.  When his purpose is hidden from you, when you can’t make rhyme nor reason of your suffering, you can turn to the one who feels your sorrow and your pain.   You can turn it over to God, and ask him to use this sorrow, this pain for something good.  That is such a comfort to me, especially when I face life’s inevitable challenges.

We are going through unprecedented challenges in our lives these days with the coronavirus and social unrest.  We can’t go anywhere.  Business trips and vacations were cancelled.  All events were cancelled.  Fourth of July parades and fireworks were cancelled. If we haven’t gotten sick, we know someone who is or was sick, and we may even know someone who succumbed to COVID-19.  Family members are estranged due to political differences.  We find ourselves impatient and at odds with friends and family members.  Tempers flare. Angry words escape our mouths or are texted or emailed. Loneliness sets in.  How can any good possibly come from this?  Yet, despite the heartaches and tragedies that have befallen our nation in the past several months, we have witnessed many blessings: acts of heroism by our essential workers; peoples of different backgrounds and colors embracing, kindnesses from strangers; families spending more time together than ever; Zoom meetings with far- flung family and friends;  decreased levels of pollution; increased awareness of health care problems; and American ingenuity applied to provide food, goods, and services to all and to carry on business in new ways, to name a few blessings.

In the midst of the heartache and tragedy we know that God is in control.  He will fit this historic period of suffering into his plan for all “who love him and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28b). Turn to God who has the answers. Turn to God who will show you a silver lining in the grey dawn.  Turn to the One who knows you, who suffers with you, who loves you more than you can possibly imagine.

Prayer:  Jesus, you demonstrated your heart and love for all who were suffering while you walked the earth.  We pray that you reach down now and put your healing hand on those who are suffering from the effects of COVID-19 or other illnesses, those who are mourning, those who are isolated and lonely, those who feel alienated from society, and those who lost their jobs during this pandemic. Turn our banes into blessings as only you can do. Shower us with your abundant love to give to others. Encourage and inspire us.  Help us care for all in need. In your name, Amen

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for next Sunday, the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, are Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Psalm 125; Romans 8:28-39; Matthew 13:44-52.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: