A biblical mantra for crises
By Shamit Joseph
“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.” Roman 8:28
This is the most inspirational and motivational Bible verse in my life. The magical influence of this verse has influenced me throughout my life.
First, let me now introduce myself. I live with my wife and two children in Bahrain, a beautiful island known as the pearl of the Gulf, for the past 18 years. I work as Admin, HR and IT manager with a multinational company.
I have three younger sisters and one brother. When I was in the tenth grade, our family faced a big crisis. A dispute with our neighbour became a court case. My father became depressed as everything turned upside down and the case cost lot of money.
I have two elder sisters and one brother and sister younger to me.. Being the eldest son in the family I had to take the responsibility of the household while studying. Many good people around us helped us with prayers and sympathy. We had only one option to survive the crisis: pray incessantly with firm faith in God’s providence.
Then came the tenth grade exam and I passed it in flying colors. The entire neighborhood celebrated with us. My maternal uncle gifted me a bicycle.
After graduation in bachelor’s course, I searched for a job to support my family. I went to Andhra Pradesh and worked in a private school as a teacher for one year. Even though I liked the profession I realized that it was not my career. I came back to Kerala and joined computer studies. After finishing my diploma, I went to Mumbai (then Bombay) in search of a job. Soon I found a job in the front office of a 3-star hotel. Since my passion was for computer-related job I kept searching for it. With my persistence, I got my dream job in a private company as a software programmer.
I remember the days we were in Bombay in 1999, soon after my marriage, we both had small jobs that gave salary necessary enough to survive and suddenly I lost my job. The company was kind enough to give me two months’ salary and necessary freedom to search for other jobs. I attended many interviews locally without much luck. Then we saw an advertisement for a job abroad, decided to attend and that was the turning point.
If I hadn’t lost my job that time I would have never reached this position for sure. I was hired to fix Y2K bug in my company
The Y2K bug was a computer flaw, or bug, that may have caused problems when dealing with dates beyond December 31, 1999. The flaw, faced by computer programmers and users all over the world on January 1, 2000, is also known as the “millennium bug.”
My many colleagues who have studied the same course as mine have not reached a position similar to mine. Now I acknowledge and the praise the Lord for that wonderful crisis although it was hard to accept it at that time. And I believe and proclaim Roman 8:28.
I had many crises in my life that made me strong so that I could face many such future challenges in a better way. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So whatever happens in our life it is as per the God’s plans.
When I read my guiding verse now, I realize it could be split into three parts: And we know that … 2- God works for the good of those who love him and 3 – who have been called according to his purpose.
My life experiences have convinced me about the first part: God knows everything about us – our past, present and future.
The second part says “God works for the good of those who love him.” St. Paul, the saint I love most, says it from his conviction. As we can see it in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
In Genesis 45:8 Joseph says “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
Poor boy Joseph was thrown into an empty well by his brothers but he never thought it would turn for the good of him neither his brothers. The dark well had no water or food and no hope of escape as well. So, we know that “God works for the good of those who love him” in the very first book in the bible.
We often face difficult situations in our life. What would be our reactions?
The second part is a conditional statement: God works for the good of those who love him. Now the question is, do we love God? We know that although we do not fulfil what these words demand from us, we still enjoy the fruit God’s protection in our daily life. It is only because we are called according to his purpose, not according to our eligibility, the third part of that guiding principle.
Yes, I am called according to his purpose, and I realized that I have to answer my Lord’s call. Many people, including my wife Suni, have motivated me to preach the Word of God but I procrastinated. But finally, I had to yield to God’s will. I now preach twice a month in our church. I am also sent to prayer meetings to share the Word of God. My first subject is always Roman 8:28.
I always pray to God to give me the wisdom to identify the good in a difficult situation and the conviction that I can overcome it with God’s help. “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.” Amen.
Praise the Lord and God bless you.