TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Romans 8:28-30
BOTTOM LINE: God works ALL THINGS together for the GOOD of those who love Him, and are called according to His Purpose! [even when we can’t see it!]
QUESTION: Does God cause our suffering? Is He punishing us w/ our suffering?
Most of us have dealt w/ discouragement, times when we truly wondered what’s next? I can’t do it anymore! Life often deals us some things that sometimes we never see coming!
I read a Reader’s Digest article not too long ago that said, like many high school seniors, my son was filling out college scholarship applications. One of the questions asked about extracurricular activities and he shared about his Wrestling. The next question asked positions held? And he replied … Pinned, mostly!
How many of us have felt like life was continually pinning us to the mat, and we can never seem to be able to get up? Honestly, perhaps we’re just waiting to get counted out?
My prayer is that Paul sort of gives us all some HOPE here, but also deals w/ a really tough deal. “God works all things together for our Good … REALLY?
- All Things????
- Yes … All Things!
Romans 8:28 … “28 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.
And my guess is that many of us have had a time in our life where this verse was our landing place to find peace or comfort in our own difficult season.
And for good reason … because I LOVE what God says here thru Paul … ALL THINGS. Not some things; not most things; but all things will work out for the good of those who trust in the Lord.
And it’s easy to see how God blesses:
- our time in His Word
- our fellowship w/ His Body and His Church
- the encouragement we get from our brother’s and sister’s in Faith
… we get that. But all things includes our aches and pains; our disappointments and difficulties; our tears and struggles? We live in a broken & sinful world, and although God is not the cause of Evil for sure, He uses His power ands wisdom to turn it out for what is best for His people. Especially in regards to bringing Him Glory and accomplishing His Mission in the world.
And this thought is repeated in several places in Scripture in some different ways. God works all things for Your Good. And I see it and read it and memorize it; and intellectually, I Get It! But the transformation from Knowledge to Belief and Experience might be the most difficult 12 inches in the process.
To move from Head Knowledge to Heart Experience is hard sometimes, and honestly, sometimes I’m better at it than other times.
YES … ALL THINGS!
Romans 8:29-30 … “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.
It’s often like one of those pictures where we know there’s a picture there, and we’re staring at it, trying to figure out what the complete picture is, but we just can’t see it.
When we’re in the middle of our suffering, it’s so, so difficult to see how this could fit together for our Good. But God who is all-knowing … and all-powerful … and completely Sovereign … He knows exactly how to make our every experience fit together for Good.
But we gotta catch what He says here. The picture God has in mind for us is not just to give us a few happy moments and blessings on earth. His picture is so much bigger than that! God’s Purpose for us, and for all who He’s called to faith in Jesus … is to bring us to the Glory of Heaven.
God’s goal is to give us a home in heaven that will never, ever come to an end, where there will be no more troubles … or sorrow … or pain … and only Perfect Happiness, Joy and Peace w/ Him, and His believers, forever!
And it’s THIS Big Picture that can lead us to say YES … God works ALL THINGS together for our Good … REALLY! HE DOES!
4 WAYS WE KNOW:
- CHOSEN – God chose us!
- Called – He’s called us to Him; and He keeps calling us a we are tempted to wander.
- Justified – we have nothing to do w/ it! Our Forgiveness and Salvation is ALL His Work.
- Glorified – this is yet to come, but spoken in past tense. We will 1 day be Glorified in Heaven, and Paul uses past tense to speak of it as it’s already done … because it is!
God’s lens is so much bigger than we can ever imagine, and His plan is that you and I would be like Jesus.
When we exchange our life w/ the Life, Death and Resurrection of His only Son, Jesus, we are counted as His own children and family. Not because of what we do, but because of what HE’s done on our behalf.
And just as Jesus was raised to live w/ Him in heaven forever, God will do the same for us. One day, we will experience the full measure of our inheritance, and share in the endless joy w/ the Family of God.
And until then … YES … God IS working ALL THINGS together for GOOD … when we see it … when we don’t … we can trust and rest either way … remembering we are loved by a God who:
- Chose us
- Called Us
- Justified us through the provision of His only Son
- And … 1 day will Glorify us to the full.