He works all things together for good

Romans 8: 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Have you ever sat down with that verse and really contemplated it?  It promises that God will work everything out for good for those who love Him.

Things it doesn’t promise:

– Temporal good.  It doesn’t say, “Love God and find a Rolls Royce in your driveway”.  There are plenty of very poor Christians, Christians going through dark times, Christians whose entire lives are lived in pain.  If it meant “temporal good”, Peter’s epistles would be contradictory and we could assume that all the martyrs were unsaved.  That’s not just wrong, it’s offensive.

– That the good that is worked is for you.  So…. when you’re old and sick and have to be cared for, your mind has returned to childhood and you think your nurse was your elementary school crush… exactly what life lesson are you learning?  You’re not.  But maybe your nurse, son, daughter, grandchild… maybe they’re learning things they couldn’t learn without your physical existence.

I believe, because God loves us, that He doesn’t count our tears as cheap coin.  I do believe He 1) values things that we do not and 2) is capable of investing that coin in ways we could never imagine.  We have been encouraged to think that our lives are only about us… so my tears, my pain – they’re about me.  And they relate to my immediate problems.  But what if my pain isn’t a lesson for me, or *only* a lesson for me?  What if I need to be changed not for what I want right now, but for a way in which I can serve him 50 years from now?

There is a temptation to make God smaller, to make His ways more understandable.   It’s not a bad thing to search for the lessons in life’s storms, to eagerly seek out the changes God wants us to make.  Which one of us is perfect?  Which one of us could not spend more time in awe, watching God work all around us?  No, that’s a good thing.  But when we *reduce* the effect of the storm to the immediate, we can reduce ourselves to bargaining with almighty God.  “If I submit to You, then You will do this thing I’ve been wanting You to do”.  Well, maybe not.  Maybe that wasn’t the point.   

God is capable of taking your storm and affecting you, and your neighbor, and someone you’ll never meet 100 years from now (does He tarry that long).   You can eagerly submit to His will, eagerly follow Him wherever He leads you – and those are good responses, right responses.  

But as I submit now, kneeling in the dust I realize… my submission, my desire to do whatever pleases Him… those things aren’t going to make the storm stop.  Because it’s not all about me.

Trackback:  http://lovingintheruins.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/fixing-what-you-can-fix-2/  Thanks for helping me find some words.

7 thoughts on “He works all things together for good

  1. Elspeth

    Beautifully said. I think I needed the reminder that sometimes (maybe even oftentimes), the lesson isn’t for me.

    Thanks, Hearth.

  2. donalgraeme

    We are on the same page Hearth. It is not all about us. In the grand scheme of things very, very few of us truly matter. Yet our egos get in the way of this- they convince us that we are special and unique (which we are, but not in the way we think) and that therefore we deserve special treatment. But we don’t. We think we are entitled to be first in God’s plan. Yet our Savior has told us that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.

    We need to stop making it about ourselves, and start making it about God. Everything else is folly.

    1. hearthie Post author

      Metaphors don’t work thoroughly enough… but I think of us as threads in a tapestry. You get woven around, and your thread is important insofar as it’s part of the pattern, part of the weave… but it’s just one thread. And you didn’t make the design, nor do you choose where you’ll be placed.

  3. Pingback: Random Musings And Links- #5 | Donal Graeme

  4. Lori Alexander

    I have read some of your posts and enjoyed them very much. You absolutely have a heart for the Lord and His ways. I love God’s promises to us and they are what get me through difficult times. This isn’t our home. We are just passing through. Use us, dear Lord. Blessings to you!


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