In these troubling times, as in many times past, we may find ourselves wondering: “Where will it all end?” St. Paul famously said this: “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 EHV).
It is doubtful that you and I would believe these words if God Himself had not caused them to be written down in the Bible. As the years go by, we get burned and stub our toes on life’s sharp edges. We discover that real life seldom has the happy endings they show in the movies.
But to all those who know Christ by faith, the happy ending is in the bag. By whatever dark detours God takes us, the journey ends at the feet of Him who loved us even unto death. Here is a sure promise that to those who love God, all things work together for good. “Those who love God” is just another name for believers in Christ. “We love Him, because He first loved us,” says the Bible. We are not saved by our love for God, but by God’s love for us in Christ. And His love for us is so sure, carved so deeply with nails, spear and thorns, that we cannot help but love Him and care about what He has to say to us in His word.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.”
This is not the knowing of brains or logic, nor the knowing of figuring everything out. There are a lot of things to which you and I have no answers. Our knowing is a thing of faith. Who of us can fit together all the pieces of each life’s puzzles. But by faith we know the One who does know.
To those who love God, we know that all things work together for good. Not just some things, not just the good things, not even most things – but ALL things! In ways that lie behind the curtain of the hidden God, our Lord harnesses even the worst chapters of your life and mine to the chariot of His divine purpose.
We see this in the oft-repeated drama of Job’s life in the Old Testament. Job was a righteous man who hated evil and taught his children to do the same. But in one fell swoop he lost everything, his wealth, his ten children, his health. Job was no fair-weather friend to God. He did not cast off his trust in the God who loved him. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away,” said Job, “May the name of the Lord be blessed.”
But the road became long and hard. Finger-pointing friends and long hours when God seemed not to be listening at all forced Job to wrestle with the hard will of God. It made no sense to him. Nor did God explain it. We who have read the script, as they say, know that behind the scenes stood God, casting Job’s faith down into the arena in the face of the devil’s challenge, knowing that Job’s faith would stand the test and become even stronger. In the end, God restored Job’s losses. But Job could not have seen where it would all end. He took it on faith that God still loved him.
So it was with young Joseph in the book of Genesis – sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers, reduced to servitude in the house of his master Potiphar, falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife, thrown into the dungeon. Who could have known how it would all turn out? Joseph interprets the dreams of two political prisoners. Years later the chief cupbearer remembers. Joseph is summoned to help Pharaoh. In a single day Joseph rises from the dungeon to second in command of an empire. This in turn allows Joseph to shelter his whole family in Egypt in years of famine. There the people of Israel are able to grow into a mighty nation as God had promised Abraham – and then to march forth to the land of promise by the hand of Moses. Who knew where it would all end? God did.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.”The supreme example is Jesus himself – from the cross to the crown, from Golgotha to the empty tomb, from the blackness of Good Friday to the brightness of Easter Sunday. Out the murder of God’s Son, He worked all things for our eternal good – the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life in heaven. For those who love God, that is where it will all end!