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. (Rom 8:28 KJV)
How often have you thought about this verse? It is often quoted by Christians, particularly in bad or difficult situations. But it is a weak salve for most people because we do not meditate on its meaning. Quoting it, to self or to others, is apt to provoke a response of indignation, “HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT THIS IS GOOD?” And they are probably right, as far as they go.
This verse requires several acts of faith: 1. God is omnipotent; 2. God is omniscient; 3. God is good; 4. God is actively seeking both temporal and eternal good for His people. The point of this verse is not that everything that happens in our lives is good, we know that many things, maybe even most, are not. It is that in God’s will the effects of all that we do and experience will combine together for good to us. This good being most fully expressed in our salvation by Christ and our sanctification in Christ. Thus, we evaluate everything in terms of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ our Lord.
What does this mean? When we suffer we remember that Christ suffered on our behalf. We know that although our suffering may be grievous and overbearing it has a purpose that ultimately is for our good. Although we may not know what purposes God has, we do know Him as Savior and Friend, Healer and Comforter. We also know that our suffering has an end, it is finite and temporal, not infinite and unending, we have been saved from that. We know that our suffering gives an opportunity for Christ to be glorified in us. He will strengthen us. He will come alongside us. He will not forsake us. Even when we feel alone we know that we are not alone. He knows all our infirmities and weaknesses. He knows the limit of what we can bear. He will not let us be taken beyond that limit. He will not break us, nor will He allow anyone or anything to break us. He endured the infinite wrath of God against sin so that we would never see wrath but would with our own eyes see the good He has for us.
Likewise, when we enjoy good things we remember that every good gift comes from our Father in heaven, who delights in His children. The most mundane things are wonderful when seen in the light of the Father’s love. Sunsets, thunderstorms, a cool breeze in summer bring joy and songs when seen in His love. The very act of eating our food is worthy of praise: have you ever considered what a delight it is that food is delicious? God could have made food such that, while necessary, it was no more pleasant to us than filling a gas tank is to a car! Social media is filled with pictures of delectable food, recipes that make mouths water in anticipation. It is so simple and yet such a wonderful gift! It is our Father’s love!
Regardless of the situation you are in, seek God’s face. Lean on Him when you need strength, rest in Him when you are exhausted, praise and sing songs in every situation, proclaim His great love, and thank Him every day. If you do so, your joy will never fail!
He is waiting to hear from you.