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Passage of the Week: November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 NASB)

Romans 8:28 is perhaps one of the most quoted verses when you or someone you know is going through a period of trouble, pain, or persecution. No matter what happens this verse usually comes out. Since this is so common, few people ever ask if this makes sense. So does it?

Like so many things in theology, and in life, the answer is both yes and no. This passage is a strong encouragement to believers that God will work all things for good. This should be no surprise as He is sovereign over all things and His will is always good all the time. It should be a comfort to us that, no matter our circumstances, God will work good from it. The problem is that God’s good and perfect will may involve our circumstances getting worse before they get better. That sickness you have to endure may involve a few trips to the hospital and much pain before it gets better. That wayward child you have been praying for may need to be taken even lower before they turn to God in repentance. God’s will is perfect but it is not always according to our timeline. 

Joseph understood this. His story reads like a soap opera tragedy. Hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime, imprisoned, and forgotten by those who should have remembered. Once he was through all of that hardship he understood that God’s plan was right and for the ultimate good. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20 NASB) He could see God’s hand in his own life. Can you?

One of the hardest things about being a Christian is that our lives are not always better than our unsaved friends and family. In fact they might be worse in many ways. Why? The passage in Romans gives us some clue. We are being conformed to the image of Christ with the ultimate being our glorification. The trials will come and they may get harder and harder but we need to rest in the promise that His will is right and we will get through the trials. This may mean deliverance from the trial and it may mean eternity with our Savior. Either will be for our good and God’s glory.

God bless.

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