Instead of teaching in Serampore, India, my first year out of college found me living in London, married, and (surprisingly) also wrestling with a call to Christian ministry. I write surprisingly because this possibility had been the last option I would have considered long-term. (Maybe that deserves a separate post?) Rapidly my whole life was changing direction all because what I hoped would happen hadn't happened and instead a sequence of events surged ahead which couldn't possibly have happened if my first hopes had not been shattered.
I began this reflection by referring to Rom. 8:38 - We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. The sceptic would say that this turn of events was just how life can turn out sometimes. No need to bring God into it. And, indeed, I do wonder about the sadnesses in the story. Like the collapse of the East Asian Christian Colleges organization. Such events can occur out of human errors of different kinds as well as God's seasons of effectiveness. But faith trusts that all those caught up in this problem would find other positive things were now possible.
Similarly, Peter Tongeman when suddenly taken so ill really suffered yet went on to experience a future full of renewed health with undiminished responsibilities. (Actually, he and his wife were at our wedding). Yet. out of his illness came my big break. Would I have met Carol otherwise? Would I have sensed a strong call to ministry otherwise? Those are unanswerable questions but only leave me with wonder that. though the Rom 8:38 promise raises complex issues in a fallen world of brokenness and illness, by faith we can dare to claim that for those who love God such turning points in our lives are ultimately positive.