God Works for the 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.
Romans 8:28 is perhaps one of the most well-known verses after John 3:16. It is in fact one of my favourite nuggets from the Word of God. Paul writes from personal experience when he says〝We Know〞because he does know. He was in prison when he wrote this. How could it be good when you are in prison? Yet, he knows that God does take such a situation and works something good for him. He knows because he loves God. He knows because he is called to fulfil God's purpose.
God is a purposeful God and nothing goes to waste. All our experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly - are under His sovereign control. He allows even bad things to happen to us in order to do something beautiful in His time for the good. And we CAN know by faith if we truly love God.
Consider the story of Joseph who was sold by his own brother to slavery in Egypt. You can imagine how despairingly frightening it must have been for the youthful Joseph. But God used that to make him a benefactor to his family years down the road when there was famine in his homeland (Gen. 37ff). The Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples (Mat.26:14ff). You can imagine how painful that must have been for Him. Yet good came out of the bad because God was actively accomplishing His good purposes.
Although we can know that〝all things work together for good〞, it does not mean that at the time when bad〝things〞happened to us we were immuned from hurt and pain. Of course not! The pain of being sold down the river by your own brothers must have hurt; the hurt of being betrayed by your disciple must have been unbearable. We are all hurt in one way or another. In fact, I come to you bearing the deep scars of many wounds. I was deeply hurt in my last fulltime ministry 10 years ago - and that is why I am back in the marketplace. But God took all my hurt and pain and because I do love Him, He used all that negative experiences in my life and ministry for the good. And one of the good God is doing is to connect us and brought us to this relationship today. It is all God's work. God works through mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
So if〝God works for good〞in the midst of our hurts and pain, what is there for us to do? For one thing, we can let go of the past and let God heal. For another, we can thank God for the lessons learned. These lessons are to make us more effective instruments in His loving hands. Like a potter, he is purposefully shaping us for His use. So, thirdly, we look forward and ask,〝How can I fulfill His good purpose with all these experiences that I now have?〞.
〝All things〞DO〝work together for good〞because God IS at work. God is the God of the past, the present and the future. Our responsibility is to trust Him for He makes no mistakes. He has allowed whatever happened to have happened for a purpose. We need to leave the past behind. He is doing what He is doing in the present. We need to pause to thank Him for who we are and what we have now. And He is the God of the future. We need to look forward to be used by Him.
〝With God working in me;
the past is being healed,
the present is treasured
and the future will be glorious.
I know because I love Him
and am called to fulfill His purpose;
There is nothing He cannot redeem
and transform into lasting good.〞