Weekly word – 2/08/24



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. Romans 8:28


Most of us are familiar with this verse. We hear it quoted often, we read it on greeting cards, and some of us have even referred to it when comforting someone who is going through some difficulty in their life. I’ve recently looked at it more closely to better understand it and to have a clearer view of the promise that it declares. Too often, this verse is viewed as an unconditional promise that guarantees us a reward of some type for enduring a trial or testing. 


These words of encouragement from Paul were not written just to make us feel better. For him, this was a matter of profound conviction. Paul was the recipient of arguably the most difficult life apart from Christ’s, recorded in the New Testament. To see what he endured, both physically and emotionally, refer to 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Through it all, Paul had unwavering confidence in the providence of God and genuinely believed that God makes everything turn out for the best. This is the reason that we read about Paul being able to sing in the middle of the night in a dungeon with a bleeding back. Paul had a deep love for God and knew that he was called according to His purpose. In fact, Jesus explained specifically what his purpose was in ministry.


We sometimes fail to recognize that every event in our life was either planned or permitted by God? Nothing catches God by surprise, and He is never “asleep at the switch”. In fact, He is the controller of the switch. Accidents are not accidental, and adversity is not adverse. Do we share the same joyous assurance that Paul had? 


The right interpretation of this verse requires the understanding of two important points – “to them that love God” and “to them that are called according to His purpose.” It requires having a correct relationship with God and understanding the need for a partnership with God.


Romans 8:28 points out 4 truths.

      1.   God’s plan is beneficial. “All things work together for good.”

We need to understand that the “good” promised by God may not always seem good and acceptable to us. This verse doesn’t promise that the good will always be for us. The “things” that we are wrestling with could bring about good for someone else. This good is often spiritual and it is not always immediate. Some time may elapse before we see or discern the goodness. Paul explained the nature of this goodness in the next verse, “for whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29). Paul believed that anything which made him more like Christ was good, regardless of how it impacted his health or comfort.

      2.  God’s plan is active or requires action. “All things work together for good”.

The heart that loves God discerns and sees Him actively at work even in the most difficult and unwelcoming circumstances in their life. All things will turn out for the best because God is at work in our lives. He can transform burdens into blessings and tragedy into triumph. Often we don’t see Him at work and feel like He is not doing anything. These are the times that we just need to be still and know that He is God. We need to understand that He is very much at work, not only in our situation, but also in the many other situations and lives that are weaved into ours. We should never take things into our own hands because of impatience or the seemingly inactivity of God. King Saul learned this lesson by not waiting as he was instructed by Samuel regarding presenting an offering to the Lord. (I Samuel 13).

      3.   God’s Plan is Inclusive.  All things work together for good.” 

All things” means exactly what it says. Everything is under the beneficent control of God and often there are other situations and circumstances that are related to ours that we don’t see or aren’t aware of. We may understand and accept that the world as a whole is subject to God’s overruling providence and control, and yet fail to see that every detail of everything in the world is the object of His loving care and concern. Matthew 10:29-31 tells us that the death of even one sparrow will not occur or go unnoticed by God the Father. God genuinely cares about every circumstance in everyone’s life along with our individual situation.

      4.   God’s Plan is Harmonious. “All things work together for good.”

A pharmacist or someone who prescribes ancient Chinese herbs usually combines different drugs or herbs to develop a compound that achieves good results. Some of these drugs or herbs taken in isolation or in the wrong proportions could prove ineffective and could even prove to be harmful. In the same way, isolated events in our lives may seem to pile up on us in a series, but we need to remember that God is intimately familiar with our situation and has an end in mind that is worthy of praise. This was the case in the life of Joseph who was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongfully accused, put in prison, and even forgotten. He was never out of God’s mind and God was orchestrating things that Joseph’s life had an impact on many years later and for an entire nation.


With these truths in mind, we are better able to not only accept the difficulties and trials in our lives, but to be able to also echo James’ counsel to consider them joy.


Pastor Bryan