“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28
Romans 8:28 is the beginning of a rallying cry for those in despair. When we come to the point where we are ready to give up, we hear the words, “all things work together for good.” What does this mean? It is not “deus ex machina” (God in a box), coming in at the last moment to remove our pain and suffering; rather it is God coming as a conqueror to fight beside us against hardship, distress, persecution, famine, and disease. We are not alone: “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.”
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
Romans 8:28; 31-39
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. . .
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our young daughter had a poster hanging in her room with Romans 8:39 written on it. As we were saying nightly prayers she commented, “I love that poster. It just makes me happy all over. I think about heaven.” My eight year old knew something I had forgotten—God was her champion.
Creativity is messy. We start with an idea, gather the necessary tools and raw materials, and set to work. Often our first try is less than perfect; we learn from our mistakes and try again. The more time we give to a project, the better the final result. My mother was an excellent seamstress. She told me that the first requirement was the willingness to rip things apart and start again.
God is our creator. He is fashioning our eternal souls. I told my children, “Life is just the opening act for the main event.” He is more concerned with developing our character than giving us a perfect life. It can be messy. There are times of testing. Life comes at us from unexpected directions, and the enemy of our souls knows our weaknesses. But we are not alone. What we see as adversity may simply be our creator “working in us” to produce the fruits of righteousness—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. He isn’t successful the first try because we are human. But we can be assured that He will never leave us, and in the end, we will conquer.
Lord, at times when I feel most alone, you are standing beside me, working through the circumstances of my life to create a more godly character. Even in the chaos, we are assured that ultimately your love will prevail. Thank you for not giving up on us. Amen