GOD PROMISES TO USE EVERYTHING FOR OUR GOOD
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
This familiar verse is sometimes misused to say that no matter what happens, God will turn it around so it becomes good. That isn’t what He is promising. Sin is still sin. Evil is still evil. God can and does bring good results despite sin or evil, but He doesn’t change them into something good. Abuse, loss, loneliness, suffering and pain are never good, but somehow God works in the situation to bring something good for His people. It may not seem so at the time, but that’s His promise, and God keeps His promises!
Paul was a trained Jewish theologian who persecuted and killed Christians (Acts 7:27-8:3; 9:1). God used “all” things in his life for God’s glory. He used Paul’s theological training to help him write doctrine in the New Testament. God used his persecution of Christians to expose Paul to the faith and testimony of those who died for their faith. He also used it to humble Paul and show his salvation was all by grace. Paul never forgot these things and was forever grateful for them.
A mistake we make with this verse is thinking only in material terms. We think when we lose a good job that God owes us a better one, or when we lose something in the service of God that He will give us more and better back. However, most of the ‘good’ He does for us is spiritual, not physical. He uses physical suffering and material loss to teach us trust, patience, compassion. Gentleness and other Christlike qualities He also forms in us as He molds us into Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29). These spiritual traits are of much more worth than any earthly possessions anyway, for they last for all eternity.
God is always working. He keeps the universe, the church, and you and me functioning. He is working for “good.” It may not be health or financial or relational improvement, instead it could be growing in faith and trust, learning to depend on Him, or having others see how we respond to tragedy. The ultimate goal, as the next verse (Romans 8:29) tells us, is to be “conformed to the likeness of His Son.” The best “good” God can do for us is to help us become more like Jesus. And that doesn’t come by everything in life being easy and perfect!
This promise doesn’t apply to everyone, though. There are two conditions given. 1. We must use our free will to respond to His love for us by “loving Him”. 2. We do that because He has “called us” through His sovereignty. The verse only is true for believers who are living for Him. Suffering in the lives of unbelievers or believers who are not following the Lord are for the purpose of bringing them to Him. That is ‘good.’ But for us who are His and living for Him, He has much more, and all of it is ”good.”
Take a few minutes to think of some of the most recent difficult experiences you’ve had. How can you apply Romans 8:28 to them? What ‘good’ came from them?
Are you going through trying times now? Keep on the lookout for God’s ‘good’ through it. It’ll be there. It must, for God promises it will be.
INDIA UPDATE & PRAYER REQUEST: Even though it’s been 14 months since we’ve been in India, we are able to continue to have an impact for good in the lives of many pastors and Christians there. Support, food, water wells, purchasing sewing machines, conferences and books continue to help meet their physical and spiritual needs. My weekly blog to pastors is read by many in India, Africa and South America. It helps me dialogue with these fine men so I can encourage them as they encourage me. I am continually touched by how many say they are praying regularly for our country. Let’s pray for theirs as well.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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