Perhaps the most difficult thing to do in life is to thank God for the trials. Sometimes in life it is hard to balance what we know with how we feel. How do we bridge the gap between heartache and hope? I believe the answer is faith. The only way to resolve what I know from the Scriptures with what I feel in my heart is to put my faith in the Word of God. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith is getting a word from God and believing it.
Romans 8:28 provides some of the greatest truth ever discovered in the Bible when it plainly and emphatically states: “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.” This verse speaks of the sovereignty of God in the affairs of His people. There are three lessons we can learn from this passage of Scripture.
The Believer’s Confidence
God is always working. Even when we can’t trace His hand, we can trust His heart. Our confidence rests in the unfailing love of God. Romans 8:38–39 reminds us of this truth: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. The providence of God always sees our good.
Joseph suffered, but God used his suffering as a tool to save a nation. The Israelites endured affliction until God used the cry of a little baby in a basket to bring Pharaoh’s mighty kingdom crashing down. Peter denied the Lord, but God arched the rainbow of Romans 8:28 over what he did. And later, God used him on the Day of Pentecost to preach the sermon that was heard around the world.
The Believer’s Calling
One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotchman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball placidly waited on the tee. Again, the Scotchman swung, and again he missed. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, “There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball.”
Man’s plan is temporal, but God’s plan is eternal. It is God who calls us, and it is God who accomplishes His will in us. The believer’s calling is to be conformed to the image of Christ while magnifying Him in the process. Romans 8:29 says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” God has a plan. Spiritually, He will one day sanctify us to the image of Christ. Bodily, we will be like Him. First John 3:2 speaks of this: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
A grandpa and granddaughter were sitting and talking when she asked, “Did God make you, Grandpa?” He said, “Yes, God made me.” For a few minutes she examined her grandpa and then she looked at herself in the mirror. At last she spoke up,“You know, Grandpa, God is doing a lot better job lately.”
The Believer’s Culmination
As God’s plan unfolds, we become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer’s culmination is the believer’s glorification. The Bible speaks of this in Romans 8:30: “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” As the songwriter wrote so long ago, “One glimpse of His dear face, ALL sorrow will erase…”
The promise of Romans 8:28 is not obvious for everybody. There is a condition to this verse and it is found in the phrase “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” You cannot put your initials by this promise unless you love God. What encourages me about this conditional promise is that others may be able to give more than I can give. Others may be able to sing, or preach, or serve better than I can. But there is nobody on earth who can love God more than I can or you can. Nobody has a monopoly on loving God. Romans 8:28 works only for those who love God and are called to His glorious purpose. Thank God He is working all things for our good!