394. In all things God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28.

These words from Romans 8:28 have meant a great deal to believers of all ages throughout history. Many have seen His hand at work in their very difficult situations as they faced inevitable danger. They cried out to Him and He worked in their situations to release them from those dangers. Others faced life threatening illnesses and their cries for help were marvellously answered as they were healed.

However God works for the good of His children as they ask Him for guidance for their lives. especially is this so as they mature and begin to think about their lives in serving the Lord in living for Him for the rest of their lives. We see that in this verse and in the verses surrounding the truth this one. Rom 8:28 describes those who love God as “those who are called according to His purpose.” In other words God has a plan and purpose in life for those who come to love Him and it is a joy and delight for those people to discover what that plan and purpose in life entails for them personally.

Personal truth

That became very personal for me in 1964 when I returned to QLD from Melbourne [over 1600 Km apart] during university holidays in August. In that time I had caught up with my dear friend Carole whom I had been courting before I left in January to attend college in Melbourne. We were returning from a long trip to visit my sister’s family in Central Qld when we pulled up outside a small country town for a brief rest before we completed the journey home. Knowing I was shortly to return to Melbourne and that we would not be together again for several months we began to discuss our future. What seemed to be certain for both of us was that we believed that God in His goodness had brought us together in the same parish and had seemed to have smiled on our relationship. We both felt that we would be serving the Lord together in Christian ministry in the days ahead. What was uncertain was where and when!

In spite of knowing that we could not get married for at least 18 months and that we would only have a very limited time together before then, it seemed right for me to ask Carole to marry me if she believed it was the right thing to do before the Lord. Imagine my delight when she replied, “Yes, of course!” At that moment our futures were set. We would continue what we were doing as the Lord had guided us already so that Carole would fulfil her obligation to the Education Department and we could be married at the end of January some 18 months in the future. Our parents were delighted with the news of our engagement and so were all our friends. It just seemed to be so right before the Lord! I was glad later that we had become engaged on that day because only a few days later my father became ill, was admitted to hospital and died of a brain tumour shortly after.

In the goodness of God I was able to take my mother with me back to Melbourne where she stayed with my sister and her new husband for the rest of the year. When we returned to QLD it was sad to see how upset my mother was as we approached our home. But in the weeks ahead and with the support of Carole and her mother, she began to be comforted and strengthened to begin a new life as a widow.

In other articles I have expressed my gratitude to the Lord for how He used Carole in so many ways in her work and ministry as a PhysEd teacher and youth group leader whilst supporting my mother. His love flowed through her in every relationship she had and many were blessed by her love and concern for them.

Just 56 years ago on 22nd January 1966 Carole and I were married in our hometown and within a few days Carole and I drove to Melbourne to begin our married life. In the goodness of God Carole gained immediate employment in a new High School as a Phys Ed teacher and formed warm friendships with both staff and students. I continued in my studies. At the end of 1968 we returned to QLD where I was ordained for ministry in Coorparoo parish.

Again in the goodness of God we were able to form rich friendships with many who are still friends today. Later we moved to Mt Gravatt parish where we saw the Lord move in power in bringing many into His kingdom through our ministry and a new church and Rectory were built. It was a wrench to us when we felt led to accept an invitation to become the Dean of the Cathedral in Armidale in northern NSW. Again the Lord was faithful and worked for the good of His people in bringing His blessings to so many.

It was a surprise to be invited to take over the leadership of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney where Canon Jim Glennon had become a world leader in the Healing Ministry of the church. But again the Lord gave us the assurance that we should accept the invitation and we experienced His blessing during the 18 years we ministered in Sydney. It was His ministry after all and He used many people in that ministry to impart His blessings and healings.

In the providence of God He allowed Carole to work in Sydney and she knew His guidance and blessing in building up the most successful department of its kind in the nation. She received many awards during her time as a Senior Head Teacher in TAFE but she saw all this as the Lord’s blessing on her ministry in this area.

In 2006 Carole felt it was time for her to retire and I made the same decision after leading the Healing Ministry for 18 years. We had prayed about where to retire and it seemed right for us to move to Port Macquarie in NSW where we found many wonderful believers in our church. Again God had worked all things together for good even for our retirement.

During our time in Sydney God had worked all things together for good to meet up with folk who had come from Florida and Alabama to learn more about the Healing Ministry. That had in turn led to Carole and I being invited to minister in the USA for a month at a time over a period of 13 years and we saw the Lord’s hand at work in blessing those times for the benefit of those who invited us and to our own eternal benefit as well. This was the Lord’s doing and it was marvellous in our sight.

The Lord overcame many difficulties in allowing us to be blessed with His gift of our three children and now we have 4 grandchildren and 3 step grandchildren. What a blessing from the Lord! Carole as an only child had really appreciated our growing family.

As our friends in Florida often said”God is good, all the time!” That was so even when Carole’s health began to deteriorate in recent years. In His goodness she was able to receive the best of attention at our local hospital and she knew His healing as she went through operations, radiation and chemotherapy over several years. When chemo no longer worked and the cancer advanced through her body I saw how the Lord strengthened Carole in her final days as she continued reading out aloud passages of the Bible as she maintained her close relationship with Him. Never did she ever doubt His love for her and her final days were full of peace for her. It made it so much easier for us when He took her home to Himself in October 2019.

So throughout the 58 years since Carole said “Yes, of course!” to my marriage proposal we have experienced this truth in Romans 8:28 that God works all things together for good for those who love Him! What a privilege it has been to marry my very best friend ever and to share in ministry together for all those years to so many people. What a privilege if has been to share together in bringing 3 wonderful children into the world and through them to share the joy of being grandparents. What a privilege it has been for Carole and me to be used as part of the good things He was working in the lives of so many people.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! For He is the God who does work all things together for good for those who love Him! Eternally grateful!!!

Blog No. 394 posted on Friday 21st January 2022. (Just one day before Carole and I would have celebrated 56 years of a blessed marriage!)

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
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6 Responses to 394. In all things God works for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28.

  1. Richard Ebbinghouse says:

    Jim, Both you and Carole were a shining light of God’s goodness. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know both of you, study with you, and learn from both of you.

  2. Fran Raszmann says:

    I am so happy to be able to read this message on this most memorable day for you! I have been concerned about you and your country, and this verse is like a balm isn’t it? Today the words of the song, “All Your Anxiety” came to me, and I just sang it over and over, then prayed it, because the Lord knows how to touch underlying things that I don’t want to give ground to, and move them out of my spirit. As you took time to write about Carole, it brings more healing to your spirit and helps others who are dealing with grief and loss. So many I know are having great difficulty managing their grief.

  3. Fran Raszmann says:

    Hello Jim. Everytime I hear your country mentioned I think about you and wonder how you are doing, and with your background, this situation we are in is not like anything we’d have ever imagined. The days of your visits here were more blessed now than we realized.

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