By Roger Campbell
When Sue was sixteen she became the Michigan high school girls’ track champion in the 440 and 880 yard runs. To anyone that would have been a major accomplishment, but to Sue and her parents it was a miracle.
Sue’s parents remember the corrective shoes she wore as a child and the constant threat of braces to help straighten their daughter’s stubborn right foot. From the time she was a year old, that foot had turned in so badly it seemed as if she might never walk normally.
After two year of treatment, braces still remained a strong possibility for Sue but her parents kept praying that God would heal her foot. Imagine their satisfaction when a dozen years later, they watched their daughter win the championship at the Michigan state track meet. They were grateful beyond words.
Watching their little girl struggle with her turned-in right foot had been discouraging for her parents. Had they not believed in the power of prayer, they might have given up hope of her ever walking without difficulty, but faith enabled them to take the long look. And by the time she won the state championship, her running form was close to flawless.
Winning the Michigan state high school track championship was only the beginning for Sue. If her parents thought this was the fulfillment of their prayers and dreams, they had many pleasant surprises ahead. While a student at college, Sue was named an All-American runner. This took her to international track competitions and after college she became one of the top 1500 meter runners in the world.
Sue’s running accomplishments opened many opportunities for her to share her faith with others. This was a dimension to the answering of her parent’s prayers that went beyond their expectations. Her father’s reaction to how things turned out in the long run could have been a commentary on Sue’s life: “God has given Sue more than we asked. We had prayed that her walk might be normal; now He’s given us a champion.”
God often gives more than we expect. According to the Bible, He may answer our prayers by giving “above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). This adds new hope when facing trials: God may turn them all into triumphs.
Once when burdened about a problem, my fears evidently showed in my face. Seeing my clouded countenance, a friend said, “Cheer up! Things aren’t going to turn out as badly as you think.” And time proved him right. What had then seemed impossible happened in answer to prayer, making my friend’s timely, faith-building words unforgettable.
Many have faced problems like you face today and have not only survived but emerged from them with stronger faith. Author George Rogers says believers “live and move in the heart of a divine conspiracy of love and wisdom which unfailingly achieves their good. Their life from day to day, instead of being determined by fickle chance and uncontrolled circumstances, is planned in accord with God’s purpose.”
There is a design in our difficulties; so faith sees trouble as part of God’s loving plan to make tomorrow better than today.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at email@example.com