That Which is Good
My dad sent me a devotional message this morning from Romans. You know the passage:
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.
One might read that as I often have in the past: Love God and He’ll take care of all your problems. Life will be good. Life will be easy.
Simply isn’t so.
God is always working for my good, and The Greater Good, but that good isn’t always easy for me.
Just like good isn’t always easy for my kids. “It’s for your own good” usually involves something that tastes bad or feels bad. My own good isn’t any fun, either.
But I found this in the footnote; another translation, another way of looking at the passage… God works together with those who love Him to bring about what is good.
My friend Cari says it best: God does not waste our pain.
The ugliness and sorrow and suffering of this world are the result of that which is bad. Sin. A setting apart of humankind and God. The distance, the deviation, the divide that comes between us. But despite that chasm, despite every hurt and harm that happens, I believe in these words. God is working to bring about what is good.
My pain, our pain, is not lost. It is not wasted. There will be something good. I may not see it today. I may never see it. But I still believe in it.
Angie Smith said it another way: “My Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday.” She said that the day she found out the daughter she was carrying had a broken heart, and for that there was no cure.
Her unborn child – irreparably broken. Such pain and anguish I will never know. But Angie knew that Jesus was the same Jesus now as He was the day before and will be the day after.
Our future is uncertain. Our success is untenable. Health, and wealth, and happiness are elusive and unreliable. Round a corner and it all could change. And probably will.
There is some Bad Stuff in my past. Hurtful, horrible things that I have had to cope with, deal with, overcome.
I’m fairly certain there is Bad Stuff in my future. Why? Because Bad Stuff happens to nice girls. It also happens to mean girls and tall girls and short girls and those who deserve it and those who don’t. We live in a broken world, but it’s not our home. It’s not our home. And this isn’t all there is.
How do I know I’m going to survive when the Bad Stuff happens? In the words of Freddie, a wonderful dame of wisdom in my neighborhood; Freddie, a widow, cancer survivor and surviving her own son. It’s not supposed to happen in that order, yet it did.
Because I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it and I’ve survived it. There isn’t any magic potion that is going to get you through it all, but I’ve got my faith, and I’ve got God. That’s all there is to it.
I wish it were not so. Being the recovering perfectionist that I am, I would like to know what’s happening next, so I can plan.
I don’t know. So much I don’t know.
But this, this I do know.
God works together [with me] to bring about what is good
I can live with that. Can you?
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
a. Romans 8:28 Or that all things work together for good to those who love God, who; or that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good
Romans 8:26-30 (NIV)