Amazing, isn't it? When you look back over the course of your life, I'll bet you can see that the difficult times--the trials, the tragedies, are the moments of life change--many for the better, some for the worse.
I think that the difference--good or bad--is how much you allow God into that situation.
Take the May 13, 1980 tornado in Kalamazoo...a tragic situation, to be sure! 5 deaths, 79 injuries, $50 Million in damage (what would that be today--$500 Mil?), and countless lives disrupted, pictures lost, prom dresses ruined, houses and churches destroyed...the list could go on.
I remember that day very well, and it came very close (literally 2 doors down) to our house...damage to family and friends all over. Trauma everywhere.
But I remember it as a very GOOD thing also!
I remember that week, when the National Guard came in and cordoned off our neighborhood...I felt secure, and was thankful that those people would leave thier own families to help protect mine. I remember when the Salvation Army set up thier food wagon down the street, and fed us...those people (from Kalamazoo County, I think) left thier homes to feed us...I remember when we had a church service in our back yard (our church, St. Augustine, was destroyed)--people literally walked for a mile to get to us (because they weren't allowed in our neighborhood in cars).
I remember being struck by all of that--and beginning to think that 'the life I've been living has not been great'. I was a typical teenager then--partying as much as possible, caring very much about myself.
These events caused me to start thinking differently.
I believe that God's Holy Spirit was beginning to prepare me to take Jesus seriously and personally, for the first time in my life. Later that year, I personally accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and became a dedicated follower of His!
Romans 8:28 says that "God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him--who are called according to His purpose.". I believe that God caused that tornado to work for my good...and many others--as we began to 'think outside ourselves'.
For me, ultimately, He moved me into the Ministry...for others the path was different...but here's what I know: NO MATTER WHAT the circumstances are--tornado's, foreclosures, illnesses, accidents, breakups...God can and will turn it around--IF we invite Him to do so, and follow His lead.
Today, 30 years later--May 13, 2010--May YOU know God's presence in the midst of your trials...and may YOU turn to Him, so that HE can 'go to work' in your situation and turn it around!
Grace and Peace!