It is absolutely important to understand what the Scriptures say and what they do not say regarding “all things.”
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Notice first what the apostle Paul does not say. He does not say that “All things are good.” Why? Simply because all things are not good!
- Broken families are not good.
- Sickness and disease are not good.
- Violence is not good.
- Physical abuse is not good.
- Wars are not good.
- Loss of life is not good.
- Our sin is not good.
I’m sure you could add a great many more things to this list. The Bible never said that all things are good; what it does say is that all things will ultimately work together for good . . . to those who love God. A lot of bad things happen in this life because everything is broken. Because of the sin of our first parents, our vertical relationship with God is broken and our horizontal relationships with each other are broken. In addition to these vertical and horizontal breakdowns, we live in a creation that was once perfect but now groans in frustration and decay (see Romans 8:19-22). We see evidence of this in the countless natural disasters that devastate lives all over the world.
Bottom line: it is plain to see that there is a lot of bad in this world. But in spite of all the bad, God has promised to work all of it out for our good! That’s right; God is working everything we go through—all the pain and suffering and sorrow and loss—for our good.
Now, I know from personal experience that this is very difficult to see when we are in the middle of a mess. I’m sure you can relate to that! But as time passes, we often look back and see how God used every bit of that mess for our good.
This is not always the case, however. As a pastor, I am confronted with some of the really awful things that happen in life, and I often have to acknowledge that we will not see the good on this side of the grave. And that is why we must trust in this promise: that the God who made heaven and earth is working everything out for our good.
Here is one of the best ways to look at the difficulties of life: Picture the cross. The absolutely worst act of violence and evil occurred when Jesus was crucified on a cross. To the watching world, Jesus died a criminal’s death as a false prophet and blasphemer. The disciples went into hiding, fearing that they would meet with the same fate. But on the third day, the worst thing that ever happened turned out to be the best thing that ever happened!
Remember, whatever you are facing today, God has a different perspective than you do. He has ordained both the beginning and the end, and he knows precisely what is best for you in your life right now. We must trust in God, even when we cannot trace Him, knowing that all things—the good, the bad, and the ugly—will ultimately work together for our good. We have His Word on it!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!