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Look for the Good

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28

This verse is my absolute favorite in all of scripture.  It has given me the proper perspective in the hard circumstances I have gone through.  There are two perspectives to every circumstance, the positive and the negative.  I want to spend some time in this post to get personal and relate some tough times I have experienced and how I made it through. Sometimes I had the right perspective, sometimes I did not.  I pray that this helps everyone who is going through tough times to look for the good.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Php 4:4-8.

I was going to a church in Homestead, FL called Selah Christian Fellowship.  Formerly the Rock Church, I had attended there since 1978 and loved it.  The Pastor of this church was a true man of God.  He loved God and His people, and it was the first time I had experienced church guided so much by the Holy Spirit.  I grew by leaps and bounds, and my relationship with God was better then it had ever been.  Then in 1985, the Pastor asked for a one year sabbatical for personal reasons and it was granted.  He had asked a friend to stand in for him during this time, and He came in and, in essence, pulled off a coup and took over the church. There were many things said that I knew for a fact were out and out lies, and I had documentation to prove it.  I disagreed with the new leadership and was eventually voted off the deacon board.  In 1986, I took a new job out of the area, and because of what I had experienced at Selah, I refused to go to another church.  I was disillusioned by what had taken place there.  I focused so much on the wrong done to the former Pastor, as well as the dis-ingenuousness of the leadership, I told myself I would not leave Christ, but I had no use for His people.  It took six to eight months for me to go to church again.

Some time later, I saw the former Pastor.  He had started a new life, and would eventually start several new ministries which focused on in-depth teaching of the scriptures, reaching many more people than could have been reached in a single church in Homestead.  God used theae circumstances to reach more people through a man who loved God and His word.

Another apparently negative sequence of events started with the terrorist attacks of September 11.  My family and I were on vacation in Williamsburg VA when my son runs to our room and tells us that a plane ran into a building in New York.  I thought he was joking with us, but when I turned on the news, I found out he was not.  I owned my own computer consulting company then, White Rider Consulting, Incorporated and was on a long term contract with a fleet leasing company in Alpharetta, GA.  Due to uncertainty, they canceled most of their computer projects including the one I was working on and as a result, I was without work in March of 2002. I started my company in 1997 and had been without work for no more than a week before this time, so I figured I would be able to find another client.  However, I could not, and found myself without a client until January of the next year.  During this time, God gave me unbelievable grace.  I was not worried, because I knew that I knew that God would take care of us.  I ended up laying myself off along with my wife, allowing us to receive unemployment.

This was nowhere near enough to subsist on.  However, God performed a miracle by providing assistance from many people in our church and elsewhere, mostly anonymously.  We painted several houses and a Chiropractor’s office.  I went to school for my insurance license, and attended a thirteen straight day boot camp to get my certification on a popular database software used by many corporations, figuring with this I could get a contract.  However, so many people were laid off due to 9/11 that no company would bring anybody in without at least five years experience.  In January, I received a contract through White Rider with a Fortune 500 company doing database and web development.  Because I had received my certification, even though they did not use the same database software, I got the contract due to the knowledge garnered from this class.  However, it was for a third of my normal billing rate, not all that was needed, but more than nothing.  In August of 2003, I was asked to become a full time employee with my former Fleet Leasing client.

During these turbulent times, I had the grace to trust God completely.  I have no idea how He did it, but we were able to pay most of our bills every month.  Some of our debts went unpaid, but we had a roof over our head, food on our table, lights, gas and water.  We could not afford to do anything else but live, but that was OK.  However, the best part of this whole story is our whole family, my wife Linda, myself and our two children Christiaan and Lauren learned to trust completely in God for everything.  Our relationship with God improved exponentially and we grew closer and tighter as a family. The kids were able to keep up their extra classes such as dance, art and piano by bartering with the teachers to clean their houses and the dance studio in exchange for lessons. They worked together and when additional help was required, Linda and myself added our time. God worked in our family in ways that would not have happened if things had continued as they were.  I was making a good amount of money before I lost the contract, and we began to trust in that rather than Him.  We saw this, almost from the beginning, no doubt a message from God to us.  Even though it was tough, it was also a beautiful time I would not trade for anything.

These two stories show God’s work in very difficult situations, the first where I focused on the negative, and the other where I focused on the positive.  However, both show that He was at work even though I could not see it.  In the first case, God showed me that men were not perfect, but neither was I.  How could I condemn all Christians for the actions of a few.  If I would have had the proper perspective, I would have realized it was my responsibility to forgive and forget, rather than hold on to my hurts and anger, separating myself from my brothers and sisters in Christ, and sowing the seeds of bitterness that took some time to root out.  In the second case, I had the proper perspective, knowing “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus“. Php 4:19. I trusted in what David said, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” Psa 37:25.  God proved himself over and over, and my family grew closer to God in the process.  He showed us how much He loved us, and how we could trust Him no matter what.  We never had any reason to doubt Him, and we were so much more thankful for much less than we had before.  He showed us that things were not the end, but merely a means to serve Him.  Our focus changed from a materialistic mindset to one that saw what was truly important, Him, family and friends, joy and peace.

My son Christiaan exhibited the idea of good coming from tough times at an early age.  When he was around four years old, he was being terrible and would not behave.  He was talking back to his mother and was more defiant than she had ever seen him.  She then gave him a paddling, letting him know that he was being acting badly and that this behavior was unacceptable.  She prayed with him, asking God to help him with His behavior problem.  She then left his room, and several minutes later he came down and told his mother “Thanks for spanking me, I really needed that.”  He then was good the rest of the day.  He thanked his mother because out of the discipline given, he saw a good that came out of it, and that was he was able to stop disobeying his mother.  If only I could have learned that at such an early age.

I want to encourage everyone who is struggling with some issue that on the surface looks like a negative situation.  Simply trust God and let Him have control and be sovereign in our lives. God told us through Paul that all things work together for good to those who love God.  He is our Father, and He will take care of us.  It may not be the way we envisioned it, but we will be OK.  He will bring some good out of our trials.  It may be difficult for us to see them, however, they are there.  We must look for these good things and make them the focus of our thoughts and actions.  This will help us to have joy and peace even through trying times.  And this is how God wants us to live our lives, not in confusion and torment, but in trust and faith in the God who said everything is OK, because good is the ultimate outcome for us who love Him.

Categories: Theology
  1. Gayle Johnson
    May 1st, 2011 at 23:22 | #1

    Excellent message! I myself am seeing that even in the bad parts of my life, God has used this to make me stronger or teach me something. As you said, I am now thankful –when before, I really did not appreciate the blessings I had received. Recently heard a great song–look at my facebook profile –posted it yesterday 4/30, I believe you will love it. I bet Linda could sing this song real good! P.S. Somehow, I think we have to get to the bottom of our barrel , to make us stop, look & listen to what God is trying to say to us. (gets us to our knees!)

    • WilliamHF
      May 1st, 2011 at 23:42 | #2

      Thank you for the kind comment. I am so thankful that God does bring good in everything, both good and perceived bad. I can see the good God has worked in your life. I will continue to pray that you continue to see the good in all your circumstances. God Bless you, and again, thanks for your kind words.

      Bill Funkhouser!

  2. Darrell Sroufe
    May 3rd, 2011 at 06:45 | #3

    This is an execellent blog as always, Bill. Keep up the good work! Your writing really ministers!

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