God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad for our greatest calling.
One hundred and two years ago a deadly pandemic swept across the world, infecting over 500 million people, one-third of the world’s population. This pandemic was known as the 1918 Spanish Flu, and up until now, I knew little about it. What I did know was that my mother lost three older siblings, all infants or toddlers, as a result of this flu. Devastating to say the least! My mother and grandmother didn’t talk much about this awful tragedy. She was the youngest in a large family, born after the pandemic ended. She wasn’t directly impacted, but she was. I’m sure her mother, father, and older siblings, wore the pain and sadness on their personhood, without saying a word. This happens; hardship, pain, tragedy leave indelible marks. Marks that make lifelong impressions that God uses for his purposes, if we let Him. “If we let him” is the operative phrase. This current, deadly pandemic is disrupting, devastating, even destroying the fabric of our society, and certainly the normalcy of our lives. All of us are impacted, some much more than others. None of us, including the children and maybe more so the children, will leave this time unscathed. What good could possibly come out of this? Well, maybe God is rewriting stories. Rewriting them for a good and future hope. Let me tell you the rest of my mother’s story. She won a full scholarship to college; the only child in her poor, immigrant family that went to college. She was a micro-biology major who went on to the University of Michigan Med school, choosing to study infectious disease and epidemiology. She dropped out before she completed her medical degree to marry my father. Her education was not lost. While my father was at Carnegie Mellon, she worked in Dr. Salk’s lab, helping with research that eventually led to the Polio vaccine. God used the tragic loss of her siblings to point her in a life direction. A calling born out of deep pain and sadness but purposed by God for good.
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28