Romans Eight Twenty Eight
Last night was my Bible Study group and we were studying this great chapter 8 of the book of Romans. One of my friends asked me the question about how I interpret the verse that God works all things together for good in light of the death of Jim. I gave a brief off-the-cuff answer but thought about the verse all the way home and late into the night.
My answer was that I have questioned God about taking Jim from this life so early but that I believe the promise of the verse with all my heart; “And I know that all things…” Like Joseph, I really believe that what was meant for evil, God makes it good. Our present sufferings cannot be compared to God’s glory
Here is a longer answer (although not complete either!)
First: Paul uses the phrase “those who LOVE God”. Isn’t that interesting?! He is talking about people who love, rather than those who trust, follow or believe, God. The Holy Spirit delivers us from hostility to God in verse 7 and replaces it with the opposite, which is love. We cry Daddy and we want to please Him because we love him! God works it all together for good for those who know and love him, who are called according to his purpose and are predestined as daughters and sons! I love because He first loved me!
Second: What is good? It clearly means something besides prosperity, health, comfort or “happily-ever-after”. When Paul refers to all things, he means all, whether or not it is painful, happy, positive or negative (every groaning) are for His glory and my best interest. His goal for me is holiness and that I am conformed to the image of His son! Eph.1 says that God works all things according to the counsel of His will is for our good! Not only that, it could be argued that God is good! It is one of his attributes so when he works all things together it is for his glory alone!
Next: Salt flavors food and contributes to health and life but the sodium and chloride that make up salt are both poisonous chemicals. The chemistry of the cross means that God takes things that are in and of themselves bad and mixes them to make something that is healing!
Ultimately, my greatest good is being swept up into God as I am conformed into the image of His Son! Joni E. Tada says, “He allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves”. God is able to redeem and restore all of my life for His glory because I love Him, even the bad stuff! He is that powerful to give me victory over my circumstances! People will always try to reconcile God’s sovereignty with humanity’s suffering but this verse is a reminder that no suffering is wasted and I can rest in the fact that God is in control.