All Things work together for Good According to God’s Purpose (today’s reflection by parishioner John Koubek is not date specific)
A scripture that has really helped me over the years is Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.” Living this scripture is not easy for me because there are times that I want my will be done, not God’s, and I want results right away. I have to be more aware that it is in God’s time and according to God’s purpose, not mine.
As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I recognize that God’s ways are much better than mine and he wants the best for me as I go through the trials of life. The important thing for me to remember is that God is with me as I go through tough times just as it is expressed in the beautiful story of “Footprints in the Sand.” Knowing this, I know that I am not alone and that God is in control and I will have the peace that only comes from God. With this as background I would like to give the following example of how all things worked together for good according to God’s purpose for me.
In my senior year in college as an engineering student I signed up for an interview with General Electric because of its worldwide reputation as a leader in electric power generation particularly in the design, manufacturing and applications of steam turbines and gas turbines. This fit in with my favorite courses in college as well as the experience I had in summer jobs. I prayed hard and was confident that God would answer my prayers and that I would be offered a job with GE. A week after the interview I received a letter of rejection from GE. Devastating!! All I could think of is that God did not answer my prayers so why should I trust him anymore. This lack of trust actually turned me away from God for quite some time.
As it turns out, after graduation, I accepted a job with another company in the power generation industry and within five years developed experience in areas of power generation that turned out to be just what GE was looking for at the time. I found out about this through a friend and applied for a job in a newly formed department in Schenectady and within days I received a job offer. Elaine and I and our children left New Jersey for a new life in upstate New York. We eventually ended up in Clifton Park and became members of St. Edward’s.
After a while I started to go back to the Church by attending mass on Sundays at St. Edward’s – actually I did this mostly for our children. Initially that is all that I did without much time for prayer or ministry. Gradually, with the power of the Holy Spirit and Elaine, I discovered the importance of the two greatest commandments, i.e. loving God, my neighbor and myself and more importantly knowing that God loves me “no matter whatness” and wants the best for me.
I also discovered the love of God through common union (as Father Pat keeps reminding us) recognizing this common union of God and me and God and the people I come in contact with whether it’s at daily mass, the Hosanna prayer group, being part of the Coxsackie Prison ministry, soup kitchens or bumping into people at Price Chopper. Through all this I feel the presence and peace of God in my life and know that I can give all my burdens to the Lord.
I also learned that when I share God’s gift of love with others that I feel even closer to God. Over the last ten years I have been a member of a prison ministry team at the maximum security prison at Coxsackie. We have weekly bible study meetings and semiannual weekend retreats. Whenever I am at Coxsackie I feel like I am on “holy ground.” I see the inmates just thirsting to know more about Jesus and sharing their trust in God despite what they are going through. I also see many of them reaching out to one another by bringing a brother to mass, to bible study, praying for each other, and being able to surrender and give their anxieties to Jesus.
When I compare all of these gifts from God I wonder what my and family’s life would be if I received a job offer from General Electric when I graduated college. I am convinced that God knows best and that “all things worked together for good according to God’s purpose.”