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“Father Knows Best!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Many of us don’t understand why things happen in our lives. Often we get discourage, we feel like God has let us down – or so it seems… Some of us in the past have had some very negative things and extremely hurtful things happen to us, leaving us wondering why would a God who is so just, loving, and kind allow such a thing to happen to me. I want you to understand that God has a divine plan. Ultimately He knows what it will take to get us into the place that He would have us. Therefore He allows those unpleasant things to come in our lives because He is just trying to perfect and direct us {1Peter 5:10}.Paul said that “everything that we experience in this life; all the struggles, pain, frustration, heartaches, disappointment, and suffering; that all things work together for the good.”  You see, we don’t know our future, we don’t know how the events that happen in our lives will affect us later. But God knows our beginning as well as our ending. Your end was already set before you began. Let me say that again. Your end was already set before you began. I am reminded of Joseph in the Old Testament of how God was using all the events of his life to get him where He wanted him to be. Joseph went from the pit to the palace. Your end was already set before you began. Do you hear what I’m saying? You got to go through to get though. Joseph had to go through to get through. Besides, all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

Listen, I want you to know that you are not the only one who felt that God had let them down. Jeremiah felt deceived by God. Jeremiah felt that God had lured him into the ministry only to make him a laughingstock. He felt ridiculed and offended. His voice was not making a difference. He was crying out for the people to repent, yet they continued toward destruction and judgment. The people of God in Isaiah’s time felt the same way too. They were worried about the future. Other nations seemed to be dominating and oppressing God’s people in Israel: God’s people began to wonder was God still in control? Can God still be trusted? I want you to know that God spoke to his discouraged and despairing people through the prophet Isaiah. They needed reminding of God’s awesome power. In Isaiah chapter 40, Isaiah said, when you feel weary, remember that God is incomparable as the mighty King over all the creation. He holds the whole world in His hand. You can trust His enthroned, ruling supreme. What a helpful perspective for us when we’re weary knowing that the Lord is still in control. He’s ruling over all with His mighty power. We can look to Him and trust Him.  I tell you Father knows Best! We shouldn’t give in to our doubts that God has left us high and dry. Jeremiah realized that he wasn’t alone {Jeremiah 20:11}. He came to understand that He was not on the losing side. He was going to win because the Lord was with him like a mighty warrior. Often in our discouragement we look inward – to our problems, our frustrations, and our situation – when we need to look upward to a God who has not abandoned us. He is with us.  He is a present-tense God.  Can I tell you that Jeremiah’s despair turned to joy, his defeated attitude turned to triumph, and his dismay to courage.

I tell you, it is  so easy for us to acknowledge that God knows what is best for us when things are going well for us, but as soon as times get tough, it is so tempting to start to question whether God knows what He is doing. I want you to know that a big part of faith is trusting God when you don’t understand it. The God who created you loves you so much that He continuously acts in your life and in your world so that you and I and all persons can have wholeness of life. This is Good News! Everything about our life is calculated; we may not understand it, but it’s because we’re not God. God has a reason; every door that’s closed God had a purpose for it closing. We sing all the time, “Order My Steps in Your Word dear Lord, Lead Me, Guide Me Every Day.” But what I want to know is do we mean what we say?  If we are asking God to order our steps, let’s not try to figure out everything that happens along the way, let’s just trust Him. Right now we can’t see it all clearly, but one day it will come into focus, and we’ll look back and say “Wow, God you are amazing! You had it all figured out, all lined up. You closed the door on purpose so your perfect will would be done.” I tell you don’t’ fight your closed doors. God knows what He’s doing. He can see the big picture for your life. Those closed doors were not an accident that was God directing your steps, just as you asked Him too. Not only that, the reason God closed them is because He has something better in store. If you’ll have this perspective and not only thank God for your open doors but thank Him just as much for your closed doors, you’ll pass the test. You’ll see the exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond future that God has in store. I tell you, God is doing a work in us for His Glory.  Every situation is known by God and is accomplishing something in us all.  Jesus said in John 14:15,If you love me you will obey what I command.” God’s will for you and me is that we come to that place in our lives where we learn to depend on Him and trust in Him for everything. This is a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson we must learn well if we are to have a close and meaningful relationship with God.

For me, the truest satisfaction in life comes from being in the perfect will of God, doing His work, living according to His choosing. God’s best is not something to fear, He not only knows what is best for us, but He wants us to have His best!  And one thing that we need to understand; one fundamental truth that is spoken throughout all Scripture: God never explains himself. He rarely gives reasons. What we need to grasp is what faith believes? Faith believes that God is too wise to make a mistake. The God of the universe has a plan for our lives, and He is busy enacting it. But it is not easy to discern. It is often above and beyond us. But I say to you, trust Him without explanation, logic and reasoning. Trust Him because He is God. When I look back over my life and think about all the events in my life up unto the present time, the good as well as the bad, the bitter, and the sweet, I can see how God was working it out and how sometimes “rejection is God’s protection.” Say with me, Father Knows Best and He is working it out for my good.  Amen!

Maurice Smith Named Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois President

Maurice Smith

Maurice Smith

CHICAGO, IL- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) today named Maurice Smith as President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). Smith succeeds Karen Atwood, who was promoted to a new position over service and technology for HCSC’s multi-state operations.  He will report directly to Colleen Reitan, Executive Vice President and President of Plan Operations, HCSC.

“Maurice brings to this role a broad perspective and deep understanding of our business and operations rooted in more than 20 years of experience across corporate finance, treasury, business development and subsidiary management,” said Reitan.  “His track record of leading multi-stakeholder teams, along with his strong connection to the Illinois business and civic community will help position BCBSIL for continued success in this fast-changing health care environment.”

Smith previously led HCSC’s treasury department and corporate development initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions and the formation of strategic partnerships.  He focused on capital deployment initiatives in support of the company’s overall strategy, including the acquisition of two health plans in other HCSC states.   He also oversaw HCSC’s subsidiaries, and served as the chairman of the board of directors of Dearborn National Life Insurance Company, HCSC’s largest subsidiary.

“Expanding access to affordable health care coverage is an imperative,” said Smith.  “I look forward to working with health care providers, employers, and communities in our state to make a difference for our members.”

Smith is the Chair-elect for the Chicago Sinfonietta and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

 

Kansas SDA Church Celebrates Caribbean Flag Day, Black History

Photos by John Coleman

To celebrate Black History Month at Riverside’s Kansas Ave SDA Church, members and guests were invited to march into the church’s regular Sabbath service on February 18 with an Island twist. The church celebrated Black History in conjunction with giving recognition to the national Caribbean flag which symbolizes their birth and cultural identity. Participating members also wore Island colors, clothing, or something else symbolizing their cultural identity. It was a comfortable, joyful, and proud ceremony of recognition.