God Works All Things Together for Good

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28

I grew up hearing Romans 8:28 in the King James Version, which proclaimed: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This translation, though possible in Greek, made “all things” the subject of “work together for good,” as if the world was somehow endowed with the ability to make sure that good prevailed over evil. The New Living Translation, along with many contemporary biblical translations, chooses another possible rendering of the Greek, making God the specific actor of the sentence. Rather than having all things work out for good, in this version “God causes everything to work together for good.” Surely this captures the fundamental message of Romans 8:28, no matter how you translate the original Greek.

In this fallen world, good and evil are mixed together like flowers and weeds in a wild garden. We all experience both blessing and suffering. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the bad that happens in our lives, especially when it is laced with injustice. But God, in his providence, is able to weave all things in life together into a tapestry. When we finally look upon the finished product of our life, we’ll see the beautiful picture God has been weaving.

In the meanwhile, when bad things happen in our lives, we hold on to the promise that God will use them for good, not just his good, but our good, if we love him and are part of his sovereign purpose. Thus we can endure the hard times, confident that God is using them for the best. Our task is to be faithful to God, letting the difficulties of life be part of God’s work in and through us. Thus, as Howard Butt Jr., has said, we will learn to be “good stewards of pain.”

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you experienced hard things in life, things that you later understood to be part of God’s good work in your life? What helps you to trust God when things in your life aren’t going as you had hoped?

PRAYER: Gracious God, how glad I am that you cause everything to work together for good in my life. As I look back upon hard times—and they were really hard—I can see how you were at work through them. You are not the author of evil, Lord. You never do what’s wrong. Yet you can use even wrongdoing in your sovereign plan. How marvelous!

When I experience hard times, help me, Lord, to have confidence in you. Help me to wait faithfully, trusting that you are working all things together for good. Amen.

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