“We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good. ” Romans 8:28, New Jerusalem Bible
In one of her Starbridge novels, Susan Howatch uses the phrase “God intermingles everything for good” and compares intermingling to sunlight and shade. Sometimes we can have too much shade, or sunlight. We need one to appreciate the other. If I pay attention I see this intermingling in many places. When I was diagnosed with cancer, my despair was intermingled with hope for successful treatment. Everything changed, but everything was not gloom and darkness.
Each week in the hospital’s infusion room I meet people of faith and hope. People from all around the Mahoning Valley, some who’ve lived here all their lives, others who came here from Puerto Rico, Palestine, the British Isles (me), all of us fighting cancer, all, it seems, people of hope, of faith. We offer each other hope, encouragement and prayers. We don’t ask what faith we claim, we trust in God to hear and answer our prayers. There are times of discouragement but also times of rejoicing–when a course of treatment is completed. The nurses are beacons of light and hope, explaining procedures, reassuring us through their skills and compassion.
The Chaplain reminds us of God’s presence and love even here. A high school student, a recent immigrant from Nepal, is a breath of youthful fresh air. She practices her English on us, and we exchange information about Nepali, American and British customs. Everyone congratulates her when she passes her driving test, and offers encouragement as she prepares for the ACT.
The infusion room is a microcosm of the world, and when I pay attention I see God’s intermingling of all things for good–the secret is to pay attention!