All Things For Good… But It’s Not What You Think
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” Have you ever had a breakthrough moment?
Days, weeks, or months of struggle, trying to understand what was happening around you, and finally, that glorious moment of clarity?
One of the most significant breakthroughs in my life came from a season where I felt entirely numb. I was studying scripture, I knew about God, I was learning, but I didn’t feel anything for Him or about Him.
What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t feel anything, but that I was afraid to be honest about what it was I was feeling. When I finally had that breakthrough, that clarity, I realized I wasn’t numb at all.
I was angry.
I knew that God is good. I had trusted it, deeply and fully, and it hadn’t brought me to the place I thought it would. On some level, though I’d never said it out loud, I expected it to keep me from painful mistakes. I kinda thought I was just safe by that point. I was consciously working to follow God, and everything was supposed to work out the way I thought it would.
A friend of mine in that season kept trying to encourage me with Romans 8:28, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.”
It did not work.
That verse and promise, when taken out of context, can be extremely dangerous. All too often, we read ourselves into the Bible. We unconsciously jump to the conclusion that our lives and our desires are “good” — that this is what the Lord is working towards.
Now, don’t get me wrong — having dreams, goals, and desires is definitely not a bad thing. I have a dreamer heart through and through, and I wouldn’t trade it. But sometimes we begin to hold these ideas too tightly.
We get comfortable. Settled. We start to define where we are in life based on where we are relative to these desires.
We pick our own “good”. We give it a Pinterest board, dreamy blue eyes, or a plane ticket somewhere.
And for a little while, it works. Until the good isn’t good anymore. When the paint starts to crack, the blue eyes leave, and the world goes into lockdown. Suddenly, we find ourselves lost, with idea where to go from here, wondering how God could take away something so precious.
One of the most comforting parts of the character of God is that He is true to His word & promises. It’s something we can rely on, expect, and trust entirely. The Lord is good. He doesn’t mess around and He doesn’t play games.
God promises to be faithful, gracious, merciful, and just (amongst a lot of other things). He holds your future in his hands. He is good, and He has good plans for you, but what God doesn’t promise is that your life is going to be comfortable. Following Jesus often means going against culture – going against the grain of what the world around you is following.
How you define good, both in this moment and in a larger sense, might not be how God defines good.
And that’s a hard thing to hear, but the truth is that you might not get your dream job, and God will still be good.
Your relationship might not come back from this rough patch, and God will still be good.
We can be in a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and God will still be good.
Jesus is the treasure. The good is God.
In all reality, there are few things we can depend on in this world. Life is short, people are human, and almost everything will let you down at some point.
The only one worth putting your hope in is Jesus. He cannot and will not fail. He might not give you what you think you want, but His plan for you will always be better than your own.
As followers of Jesus, we know and experience a greater good than the goals and desires that this world has to offer us. The grace that we receive on a daily basis is more than we could ever ask, earn, or deserve. Moving forward into these last few months of 2020, how can we intentionally shift our hearts to align with God’s?
1. Make prayer a part of your daily life. Take time everyday to ask the Lord to help you see things through His eyes, and form your heart after His.
2. Listen to the Spirit. If you’re feeling a nudge towards or away something, listen to it, no matter how big or small it is.
3. Prioritize spending time with God. You can’t know someone you don’t talk to. Read the Bible, spend time in prayer, seek out opportunities to learn from spiritual mentors. Just a few verses earlier, Romans 8:5 says “Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
God’s plan is always better. Whether you’re living your best life or feeling like the hits just won’t stop coming, take heart. What doesn’t make sense now will one day be clear. Rest in the comfort and knowledge of the love and grace of God.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. // Romans 8:18-28
To read more from Anika, visit her website.