It a plain and simple fact of life, if you’re breathing you will experience a crisis of biblical proportions. Maybe your crisis is a divorce, or a job loss, or foreclosure, or the death of someone close, or a prodigal child, or the betrayal of a close friend, or abuse, or you are told those dreaded words “It’s cancer”, or perhaps it’s just the ebb and flow of daily living. What are we supposed to do? Where are we supposed to turn when crisis comes? God’s word is full of great promises and perhaps one of the most comforting is:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
There are five things present in this promise that we need to remember as we go through the crisis of our lives:
God hasn’t left us in the dark. – Paul begins this powerful verse with the proclamation that the promises of this passage are something “we know” to be true. It’s not just pie-in-the-sky. It’s not a fanciful wish or something we have to guess at. There’s confidence. There’s trust. There’s a deep abiding faith present in the words “we know.” We are not left to speculate about course of our crisis we know from the outset that God is working it all for good. He is intervening in your crisis to use every part to work His plan and your ultimate good.Does that mean that we will know all the inner works of every situation? Of course not but in this passage God is saying, “I want you to know right now, your life, your crisis is under My control. No matter how things might appear in the immediate, trust Me, every thing’s gonna be alright.”
It’s God’s job to workout it out for good. –Do you want relief from devastating stress, or debilitating anxiety, or demoralizing worry? Do you want all the paralyzing fears of life to end today? Here’s the solution… let God do His job. It’s God’s job to make everything work for good, not ours. It doesn’t matter how hard we try we can’t make all things work together for good. It doesn’t matter how much we worry about the outcome of situations, it ain’t going change a thing. That’s Jesus point in Mat 6:27 where He said, “which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” So in a crisis let’s remember that’s it’s God’s job to work together all things for good, not ours.
Perhaps so much of our anxiety and worry comes from not understanding what the good is that God works out for those who love Him. The good doesn’t necessarily mean a life of ease, or a new job, or healing, or restoration things lost, or an overflow of money, or any material thing. The good that God brings out is found in 8:29-30, it’s spiritual good that God wants to bring out. Notice the spiritual good that God works out:
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)
Did you notice the good that God is working to bring about in our lives:
- Conformity to the image of His son – Above everything else in this life, God wants us to be like His son. Paul constantly urged his listeners to be like Christ, to conform to the image of the Son (cf. 1 Cor 11:1; Eph 5:1-2; Php 2:4-5).
- Our glorification – In the context of this verse it seems that the good is our glorification in heaven. So we would say that God is working all things for good so we can go to heaven (cf. Col 3:4; 1 Pet 4:13-14).
With a proper frame of mind about what God’s good is, then we can lay down the worry and let God conform us into the image of His son while He works out all things for the good of our glorification with Him in heaven.
Our Job is to Love God. – If it’s God’s job to make all things work together for good then our just is just simple love Him. That’s it. Plain and simple is it not? Love God and He’ll work to see that all things in your lives will work together for the good of conforming you to the image of His son and the glorification in heaven.
We shouldn’t be surprised that God simply wants us to love Him. When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Mat 22:36-38) He also said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” (Jhn 14:15)
The test is, can we love God enough, that we trust Him completely with our lives most terrible moments? Can we trust Him with the crisis’s that come into our lives? Where else shall we go? God has the words of life (cf. Jhn 6:68). The God who created and sustained the universe, who has proven Himself to be a trust worthy friend stands by you ready and willing to work all things for good in your life. All you have to do is trust Him.
All Things Really Means All Things. – Not just some things but all things. Not just the hard things but the easy things. All things really means all things. There’s an assurance in those words that there is no limit to what God can work with and work out. Let’s face it bad things happen to us. But God remains God and He is Lord over all the bad things that happen in this life. He is fully capable of using them in ways that will shine forth His glory and lift us to the heights of being conformed to the imagine of His son. What about the crisis that you’re going through right now? God can use it for good. It’s bad, and the pain you feel is real. But, God is Lord over all and He will use this for good.
We are a part of God’s plan. – God has a plan and we are a part of that plan. Since we are a part of God’s plan then the crisis that is enveloping your life will be used by God as part of His purposeful plan for humanity. Are you wondering how that can be? Then consider the story of Joseph, or Stephen, or Paul. God used the crisis in the life of Joseph so that His plan for the Israelites would be fulfilled. In the case of Stephen’s death God used it as part of His plan to spread the gospel throughout the Roman world. In the case of Paul’s crisis God used it to keep Paul humble so he would continue to establish churches. Just like God used the crisis’s of those in the Bible He will use you and your crisis to bring about His purposeful plan.
Here are three ways to increase your faith in Romans 8:28:
- Read Your Bible – Don’t just read your Bible to read it. Read the stories of God’s people who walked by faith and not by sight. Read about Joseph (Gen 37:12-36; 39:1-45:28) and learn from him how God worked out all things for good in his life. Or read about Stephen and how his death brought about the good of Christians being scattered so that the church could grow (Act 6:1-8:4; 11:19-21). Read about Paul and his thorn in the flesh and how God used it for good (2 Cor 12:7-10). The goal in reading these stories is to increase our faith to “know” the promise of Romans 8:28 is true (cf. Rom 10:17).
- Give Thanks Often – We all want the peace that “surpasses all understanding,” especially want peace during the trials of life? But where does that peace come from? From Php 4:6 and Col 3:15 we learn that it comes from giving God thanks. That’s right. Thanking God for everything He has done for us. When we thank God for all that He has done for us in times past we begin to see that God has always worked all things for good in my life. So heed the advice of the old song, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
- Share Your Story – I know I refer to Mrk 5:19 often but it’s a passage that appeals to us as Christians to be people who share our story. That’s what Jesus wanted the Gadarene to do when He said “go home [his] friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” When we share our story of how God has worked out all things for good in our lives, it will strengthen our faith through repetition. Sharing our story will give others hope and encouragement to press on in the faith. By sharing our stories with each other, we have unity because we come see that we’re all in this boat together.
What have we learned today? God will see me through my crisis and He will use me and my circumstances as part of His great purposeful plan.
May God bless you as you seek to love Him. I would love to hear your story about how God brought you through a crisis. Would you mind sharing it with me? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.