Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This week I saw that Scripture come to life, even as my mother-in-law’s car and handbag were stolen.

What Was Intended for Evil

Like a scene right out of a movie, she was targeted as the victim of a plot. The scheme unfolded in a hospital room where she was visiting her sister. A curtain separated her sister’s bed from the other patient in the room. My mother-in-law’s perpetrator sat behind the curtain waiting for the opportunity to unleash a dog to create a distraction. As the focus shifted to the dog, the perpetrator pulled my mother-in-law’s handbag from the floor behind the curtain and walked out of the hospital unnoticed, escaping in her car with her wallet, cell phone, and keys in hand.

Naturally, phone calls, police reports, and investigations ensued on my mother-in-law’s behalf to recover her property. The police were skeptical that the car would be recovered. So it was quite unexpected when just the next day, she received a call that the car had been returned to the hospital parking lot, and one of the perpetrators (the female) had surrendered. When the police asked my mother-in-law to come inspect the car, she was quite surprised to find two bouquets of flowers that were resting on the dashboard, with a handwritten note that said, “Sorry. We are homeless.”

God Intends for Good

Upon further inspection she found that the Christian music CD she had left in the car had remained in the player, untouched. There was a handout on one seat with a list of local women’s shelters that had been provided through the hospital. Perhaps even more startling was that a small book my mother-in-law had purchased years ago — Hope by Charles Swindoll — sat in the backseat, clearly paged through. My mother-in-law had placed the book in the glove compartment thinking she would read it at some point, not knowing God had it in mind for someone else.

While the police didn’t recover her other belongings, my mother-in-law became a local phenomenon as even the police were shocked to have found the car in perfect working order. Even more amazing was the fact that as a believer, she was granted the opportunity to provide a vessel of hope and temporary shelter to someone in desperate need. And she has since shared this story, even with some non-believing friends and relatives who were amazed to see her peace and faithfulness through the whole ordeal. Although these two people committed a serious crime, who knows how God might use that book and this event to eventually bring them to salvation, as well as impact others who have now heard this story.

The Seeds of Today

I’m wondering how many seeds God is planting around us today — like the tree that was planted so many years before Zacchaeus would need something to climb on in order to see Jesus. I’m wondering how many things He’s transforming for our good, just as God sovereignly guided Joseph through his trials. His brothers meant evil, but God worked out all things for good. Of course, we don’t understand how His sovereignty works. But I’m grateful to know — as I recently heard my friend say — that all things means all things.