Not Home Yet: In All Things

“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.” (Romans 8:28)

It’s too easy to use this verse as a force field we put up to keep ourselves from feeling other people’s pain. “I’m sorry that happened to you, but it’s good to know that God has a purpose for it. It will all make sense in the end. Call me!”

nothome_350But Paul didn’t write it in a Hallmark sympathy card. He wrote it immediately after admitting that even Christians still groan on this planet in frustration and pain. He wrote it after acknowledging that we don’t yet have what we’re hoping for. He wrote it after showing that God’s Spirit groans with us, making our case to God because we just don’t have the words.

Then he explains his reasons for confidence in the God who lets him hurt for now: The God who loves us is up to something bigger than this temporary agony. He is working – even in the hard things – for the good of people who love him, people he has called to participate in his plan for the universe.

In a sense, our painful circumstances matter because God is working in them; our suffering fits somewhere. It is not pointless. It is not anonymous. It is not overlooked. It’s part of the story he is telling.

Think: Do you ever get tired of people quoting this verse when terrible things happen? Do you believe it, that God really is working through your hard circumstances to do good for those who love him and are called to serve his purpose?

Pray: Thank God that in all things he does, in fact, work for the good of those who love him and are called for his purpose.

Do: Make a quick list of some of the hard things in your life. Think about how they fit into this promise.