Work Together for the Good of All

Today’s scripture: Romans 8:28 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Terri Brown):

Many, many years ago, my sister and I put our money together and bought a toy for our younger brother. We both  were just delighted with it and could not wait for him to see it on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve, we decided to test it. We wound up this little monkey and marveled as the animal did tricks over and over again. We must have wound it too tightly, at some point, as the monkey finally did nothing. My sister and I, at first, just wanted to pretend we had not purchased the gift. Finally, we decided to leave it under the tree and not say who it was from and perhaps he would think Santa left a defective toy.

Christmas morning came and the monkey was there under the tree; staring at my sister and me as if it were telling on us. We let our brother know that the toy was from us and that we had played with it the night before. He asked how it worked, and I told him that he needed to turn the knob to wind it up and it will move around. When my brother turned the knob, the toy worked. Admittedly, the first turn was a bit feeble, but the monkey regained its momentum and my sister and I sighed with relief.

Later in life, this same brother would lose his four children in a fire. The entire family was devastated. He lost his home, eventually his marriage and almost everything he had in life. He attempted to take his own life.

That year at Christmas, my family bought tickets to a musical at Beef and Boards, as my brother and I had participated in musicals at our high school. As usual, with my family, there was a catch; I was to talk to him about the suicide attempt. I had been diagnosed with major depression and, as had many other individuals dealing with depression, put on Prozac, and became suicidal, as well.

I dreaded this task but approached him directly, during intermission, with my interpretation of why we were at the theater. He had guessed something was going on but not this. Now I love my brother dearly but, except for the death of his children, then later in life our parents’ deaths, he jokes about everything, to a fault.

He lived with our parents after leaving the emergency room from his  suicide attempt. It did not take him long, after that, to get back on his feet and find another job, his own place and a renewed life. He is happily remarried and helped his wife raise her girls. They have a grandson now and both of them think they were put in this world for one another.

But on that night, in that dinner theater, he looked at me and said, “Why is it that somebody takes you to the ER after you try to kill yourself, they revive you, send you home and when they think you are doing all better, send you the bill. I wanted to die and try all over again.”He laughed and I knew in that moment he was going to be okay. Just like the little boy with the defective toy. What was meant to happen, happened. I learned my lesson as well.

Thought for the day: Sometimes we find ourselves in situations in which we worry about our role and how the outcome will affect other people. The Bible tells us there is a purpose for what happens in life and God appears to have some hand in making sure everything works for those of us who believe. Like blessings in disguise, it may appear that something terrible is the be all to end all things, but I look at it as a new beginning, a growth opportunity. What can you learn from a not so positive experience today? Reflect on your life and find your new beginning or opportunity for growth. 

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.