Romans 8:28 says: “All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.”
So in the midst of my trials, spiritual battles, questions needing answers and a general state of feeling abandoned, this verse comes to light. ‘All things work together for good’ sounds like a good thing to me.
But that sure is not what I was seeing in my experience and life and those mates of mine that passed away way too young, that didn’t look like it was working for them.
And even today in your life and mine we say hey that isn’t so good. Some days we’d go so far as to say sweary words about how bad it seems. We ask the question of why is life not good like that verse promised?
Well as you see if you read the whole verse there is a clause that says we are part of the solution. God works it out but often He uses us to complete the journey. The last part of the verse says to those who are called according to His purpose.
Well I go often to the old catechism, you can use either the Westminster (Church of Scotland) or the Spurgeon’s (Baptist preacher) and they say the same thing as they ask the first question - What is the chief end of man? The answer - To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Thus we all have a purpose to fulfil.
And at some point we either choose to do that in this life or the next we will do it as a decree of God. So there is then the middle bit that says ‘to them that love God’ there is this all things good. So I remind us of where this series started, with sin. It is that that separates us from the love of God. God’s love is on offer to all I believe according to the scripture. But not all receive that love and it appears to me even less return that love.
I see too often people that had ill in their lives that become unloving or forgiving to God in this life because of some heart ache but I also see those that find an even closer relationship with God out of trial and afflictions.
I think about my friend Jeff Smith who was a minister in several places around Scotland. Well, he wanted to prove for himself that that verse was/is true.
He prayed asking God to prove it and ended up with brain tumours. Not a good result in my book and many around him agreed with me. Not so Jeff. In the last sermon he preached (link if you are interested http://mindrenewers.com/2013/06/27/jeff-smiths-last-testimony-god-loves-me/) his claim is God loves him, cares for him and gave him this tumour and will call him to Heaven. Now you can agree or disagree but the words are his and not mine, and Jeff’s journey ended in death June 26 last year. I miss him greatly but his testimony is what it is.
And though there are some things I’d say differently, it doesn’t change that hard times come, and hard times go, but God is still the God of whom it is said: “... God is love” in 1 John 4:8.
Next week, the laments of David in the Psalms,
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship