Farmville Enterprise March 27, 2019
My perspective was all wrong. Not that it was bad for me to be disappointed back in junior or senior high when I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovered the person Jo March eventually married was Professor Friedrich Bhaer. It turned out that quite a significant number of readers also were cheering for the handsome and fun-loving Theodore Laurence when he proposed to the smart, outspoken, brave, and occasionally impatient Jo. Laurie, as he was called, lived his childhood in Europe but after both parents died moved in with his wealthy American grandfather in New England, next door to the March family. At the time the father of the four March sisters was serving as a chaplain to troops in the U.S. Civil War. Jo turned down Laurie’s proposal, much to the chagrin of many readers. Both she and Laurie tended to defy convention, periodically had bad tempers and probably did not challenge each other enough in positive ways. Perhaps my perspective was wrong when I disliked the fact that Jo, upon following her dreams to become a writer by moving to New York, met and fell in love with a somewhat older and more didactic German man whom she did not find handsome in any feature. (Actually, the philosophy professor had moved to New York to support and educate his two orphaned nephews and was exceedingly kind. As an adult I can see the ending as well-fitting, although less romantic.)
Where my perspective was all wrong was that for quite a while after reading the novel I thought “That is going to happen to me. I’m going to end up marrying the equivalent of an old, boring guy like Professor Bhaer.” Do you ever fall into that trap? Do you ever think in your heart of hearts that God is more likely to give you bad or unsatisfactory things than not? I later realized that while I firmly believed in God as perfectly loving and all-powerful, I was not convinced deep down that God was all-good. To this day, omnibenevolent is a word I hardly ever have heard or seen, but God certainly is omnibenevolent.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:8) “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19) “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
God being all-good does not mean that we won’t have problems. Jesus and several disciples were arrested, persecuted and killed for declaring the truth about the Messiah. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The bottom line is that God works through the difficult situations in our lives to bring something good out of them, if our attitudes are in tune with what God is doing. “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.” (Romans 8:28)
God does not give us everything we want but there is no doubt that God gives us good things again and again. Happily, I ended up with the opposite of a boring, old husband.
”Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)