Throughout my 20s, one of the biggest sources of stress in my life was the fear that God didn’t really love me and that I would never really know where I stood with Him. At one one point, however, I put His love to the test: I went on a sinning spree that took me further than I wanted to go and convinced there was no way back.
In theory, I knew Jesus still loved me, but theory was as far as it went. Sure, His blood would still allow me to go to Heaven, but I figured it would be a while before He offered me any other blessings. Yet that was the very moment He chose to bring the greatest blessing of my life: my wife, Raquel.
We met at a party that Raquel almost skipped because there was a terrific storm in D.C. and she hardly knew anyone who was coming to the party. I struck up a conversation with her, got her number, went on a couple of dates with her, and quickly grew to like her. Then, a few weeks into the relationship, I tried to run her off by telling her about my not-so-distant past. To my surprise, she didn’t run. She offered the kind of love I was having so much trouble receiving from God.
It was the beginning of a new chapter in my understanding of Christ’s love, which is why I said at our wedding, “If I ever question whether God loves me based on my performance, all I have to do is look at Raquel.”
To the world, Raquel’s and my story is one about a heartwarming, coincidental meeting of two people who were ready to find love. For the Christian, however, there is no such thing as a coincidence.
The good things that happen to us are subplots in a much bigger story: “That all things” — even our failures and brokenness — “work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). God is the Author, and in His story, there are no accidental twists, no insignificant details, no wasted moments.
Those years of purposelessness that seemed like a waste of time: They’re working together for our good.
The failures that still haunt us: They’re working together for our good.
The successes of other people: They’re working together for our good.
The sins that have been committed against us: They’re working together for our good.
The world events over which we have no control: They’re working together for our good.
That doesn’t mean all these things are good. It means we serve a resurrected Savior who has the power to bring life from death, gain from loss, joy from sorrow. He’s drawing us deeper into His story in which we eventually discover that all along, every single circumstance was adding up to surprise ending that was “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).