Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Edith Cavell was a British nurse who ran a hospital and nurse’s training school in Belgium in the early 1900’s. When the Germans invaded Belgium at the start of World War I, she found herself in a very precarious situation. Although she did not officially enlist to help with the war effort, she indeed helped many, many of her own countrymen, British soldiers, by hiding them in the hospital as part of a secret underground operation to get these soldiers back into free territory. Eventually the Germans arrested Edith, along with 35 others who were assisting the enemy. For 10 weeks she sat in prison, and kept herself calm by reading the Bible, and The Imitation of Christ. Finally, the 36 prisoners were tried together at a “mock” trial, and were given various sentences. Beyond anyone’s imagination, especially Edith’s, she was sentenced to death by firing squad the very next morning! Murdering a woman? This simply was not done in civilized society. And yet, the next day, October 12, 1915, Edith Cavell took her last breath in the presence of seven armed German soldiers.

This was not a lady who joined the Red Cross and anticipated war; this was a lady who was performing her job of training nurses in the peaceful country of Belgium. She did not seek battle; the war found her. She simply did what she thought was right to do- the only thing she could do- for her beloved country.

News of her assassination spread throughout Europe like wildfire. Immediately the Germans were viewed by millions as barbarians who slaughtered women. Because of the outrage, the four other prisoners sentenced to die with Edith were allowed to live. Also because of public outcry over her death, thousands upon thousands of men enlisted in the war in the months following Edith’s death. This very act is known as a turning point in the Great War, a pivotal point in the victory to come over Germany and its allies. All because a nurse did what she thought was right to do.

Sometimes we face circumstances in our lives that seem unfair. Poor health, an attack by a friend, a financial reversal, loss of a job, possibly the death of someone dear to us. The list goes on and on. Simply put, we feel that we are suffering through no fault of our own. It is hard to understand why God would allow this situation in our lives.

The “good” of Romans 8:28 is the overall good as viewed by God.   God sees the big picture of our lives. Sometimes He causes one of His children to suffer as another of His children succeeds. He is not mean or unfair to do this. He loves each of us, and He knows what is best for us. He also sees the events from all angles. The question then comes, “Are we willing to suffer for a while to be used to further Christ’s kingdom?” Maybe we don’t see the connection of our suffering to the benefit of anyone else, but God knows what He wants to accomplish in our lives.

Edith Cavell died a seemingly meaningless death, but World War I may have been won indirectly due to her sacrifice. As her last words, she said, “I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no bitterness or hatred towards anyone.”

Are we willing to go through a hard time, a setback, a devastating circumstance, if the Lord wants to use us for His good? Soon we will be in heaven, and our heartache will be worth it as we see how God used our lives for good. The Big Picture is a view of Eternity.