Most of us are prone to envy the woman who wins the lottery with a ticket somebody threw away. The homeless fellow who finds out he is the sole surviving heir of a millionaire who just died. The person selected for one of those "makeover" jobs and gets straight teeth, a nose job, and a new wardrobe — maybe a new car too. But these folks are a tiny, tiny percentage of the population.
More of us are likely to start out as Sally Hampton did. Something happens to you that doesn't look very promising. As a matter of fact, what happened to her appeared to be an absolute disaster. Appearances sometimes deceive us.
Sally was at a bar in a small Florida town last July 4. The bartender called closing time, but one of the younger patrons didn't want to leave. Sally is in her sixties and looks rather grandmotherly. So she put her hand on the fellow's shoulder, told him it was time to go, and started walking him toward the door.
That's when Sally got her, uh, "break." The fellow wheeled on her and smashed her head with his beer bottle! When she fell to the ground, he kicked her in the head! He was arrested. Sally was transported to the hospital.
As physicians put her through a series of tests, they found that her wounds were not serious. But a tumor they found growing in her brain definitely was! It was a life-threatening tumor that had produced no symptoms yet. As a result of the assault, though, it had been discovered in time. She has had surgery. She is recovering well. And earlier this month she testified in court against her attacker — who is now serving twelve and one-half years in prison.
Sally Hampton's story reminds the rest of us that our own good fortune often comes in disguise. Ever hear a recovering alcoholic tell you that hitting rock bottom from his drinking was the best thing that ever happened to him? Discover yourself that losing a job pushed you to learn skills you needed to do something more significant with your life? Look back to see that a failed relationship set you free from a destructive and unhealthy dependence?
Sally reflects on her experience and says that God's ways are mysterious. "But he could have let me know a little softer," she says. "That was horrible."
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)