THIS OLD DOG IS LEARNING NEW TRICKS
Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? I’ve been gaining a deeper understanding of Romans 8:28 lately. I wish I understood it this clearly years ago! Here’s what I’m discovering.
Paul says that God brings good out of all situations. He does not say that all things are good, or that God changes bad things to become good, but that despite how evil something may be, God will use it for His glory and our good. He uses it to build good spiritual qualities into us.
A key to understanding this verse is found in the word “good.” God uses whatever happens, that which we see as good or bad, to bring about something ‘good’ in our lives. That does NOT refer to health, finances, prosperity, popularity or any such thing. The ‘good’ contributes to us becoming more like Jesus. The next verse, Romans 8:29, says God’s plan for us is to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” God promises He does not withhold anything “good” for us (Psalm 84:11). That means whatever happens is for our ultimate “good” (becoming more like Jesus). If something we think is good does not happen that is because God knows that, in the long run, it is not really “good” for us. So He withholds it.
God never promises that as Christians we’ll have less pain, or that God will turn the bad thing into something pleasurable for us. He dos promise that, if we trust God through whatever happens in life, He will use it to help mold us into the image of Jesus. “Bad” things are allowed to cure us of the things that can really destroy us. Remember, Jesus did not suffer so we do not suffer, He suffered so that when we suffer we will become more like Him.
Do you understand what I’m saying? Thank God we are never too old to learn new things!
Romans 8:28-30 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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
John Newton: Everything is necessary that He sends, nothing can be necessary that He withholds.”
Ask God to help you have a proper attitude and response to the negative things in your life. Don’t expect Him to give some tangible, visible benefit to make up for them. Instead, use them as opportunities to trust Him more so you become more like Him!
Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization