If you have ever been through a rough time, a tragic time, a disappointing time, you may have heard this verse before. “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) I’ve thought about this verse throughout my lifetime, and probably have used it a time or two. But, until my life was turned upside down last year, I never took the time to study this passage.
Good? How can we say it is good when a loved one dies, or when someone close to us is told they have cancer, or when I’m going through financial hardship because of the loss of a job? If we only look at this verse, it is what we are to believe. But I truly believe we can find answers to the questions surrounding this verse of Scripture when we look at the passages before and after it.
Let’s break down Romans 8 and allow God to lead us to a correct understanding.
- “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1)
- “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (8:9-17; 8:26)
- We have a future – the temporal things of this world cannot be compared to our future (8:18)
- We love God and have been called to His purpose (8:28)
- “If God is for us then who can be against us?” (8:31)
- “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword?” (8:35)
- “We are more than conquerors!” (8:37)
- “Neither death nor life, angels nor demons, present nor future, nor any powers, height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God” (8:38-39)
God loves us. He doesn’t want to see us hurt, but God can use those times in our lives to make us better people. You see in Romans 7, Paul makes statements like, “I am unspiritual,” and “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature,” and “when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” Apart from God, we are not good. We cannot know God’s goodness. It is only through knowing God that we know good. He can work through us to bring out the good in us. To mature us. To develop us into a person He can use for His Kingdom.
The good is not the external things. The temporal, worldly things. Events that are crushing, devastating, troubling to our mortal bodies. No the “good” is the internal good God is doing within us. We have the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, comfort, etc. when we are under fire. In our weakness He makes us conquerors. God is on our side!
Through my loss, I’ve learned that God is at work in me. I’m here for God’s purpose. I know that through my experience the good developed within me is greater and stronger. And until I’m with those who have gone before, I must continue to allow the Holy Spirit to work “good” in my life.
God has reminded me over and over this past year that His grace is sufficient. On that Sunday morning last March, I could not have known what I was heading in to, but God did. His Holy Spirit did. They loved me through the day. They comforted me through the day. They worked on me through the day. And in the end, I knew that God’s grace was all I needed. I knew that I was a conqueror and my faith is stronger today than it’s ever been in my life because of that experience. So I can agree and repeat these words from the Apostle Paul:
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,