God works for good….really!?

Posted: 09/04/2011 in God
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Over the last 8 or so months I’ve started reading the bible again, really reading it and meditating on it – not just skimming over it quickly out of a feeling of obligation. As a result I’m seeing scripture in a way I haven’t before and with less of my own skewed interpretation. Recently I’ve pondered over this passage “…and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). The way I’ve read this before is:

“…God causes everything to work together for the good of some people who love him but not others, depending on whether He’s happy with you or not”.

What a depressing way of reading it, that the God whose love is unconditional and unchangeable would show favouritism and bring good out of bad only according to my deeds. As I have reflected on this verse I have come to realise the lie that I believed. Why, because in every aspect of my life journey be it wonderful, mundane, challenging or tumultuous, in some way or another God has bought something good out of it. There are 4 things I have learnt.

1) God’s time is not the same as our time. My expectation has been that God will intervene right now in whatever challenging or difficult situation I’m facing. In some circumstances He has but more often than not he uses those experiences later on whether it be weeks, months or often, years! It’s the years part that I’m seeing now. At the time of trials, had I seen the good that was to come out of them perhaps I would have endured them better. More likely though perhaps not. But today considering all the good that has come gives me hope for the future trials I’ll face, that indeed God will work for my good just not in my timing. 

2) The good often comes from the journey. I generally want to skip to the end of a particular journey I’m on, especially the more painful ones, but in doing that I miss the good along the way. Or better still ask for the same good to come out of another situation, not that horrible one! In doing that I miss the lessons along the way and the good may never come. Imagine reading the start of a book and the end but not the middle. Not only does it make little sense but you miss the excitement of the journey! A friend has said recently that we need to learn to enjoy the journey more than the destination and I could have smacked him a lot for saying that! Easy for him to say, what did he know about my journey? But then, what did I know about his? Yes God works for good and it doesn’t always come at the end of a journey

3) Our idea of good is not the same as God’s idea of good. Our society dictates egocentricity, it’s all about me, all the time! Therefore if God is going to work good then that good must be in my life. After all it would be easy for us to think, it was to me that all those awful things happened so therefore it’s me that should get something good out of it. I don’t think this is how God sees it. Jesus is the perfect example of this. We all have the opportunity to benefit from the good that resulted from His death, but He was the one who suffered. Yes but that’s different we say. Is it? Think then about our generation and the stories we hear, two vastly different examples are Jane McGrath and Olaudah Equiano. Jane suffered breast cancer and died. I can only imagine the devastating journey it would have been for her, her family and friends but out of that has come the McGrath foundation, good that is helping hundreds. Olaudah was an African slave who became a central figure along with William Wilberforce in the British abolitionist movement. From his suffering and the horrors he witnessed came good. It took many long years but good triumphed. Of course I don’t believe that out of our bad situations good will only come for others, it can and does come for us just not all the time.

4) When He says all things He means ALL things! It’s very hard to conceive how good can come out of some situations and without a doubt I don’t have all the answers. Why do bad things happen to good people? On a theological level I could tell you what I think but on a personal level, looking at the awful things that happen in this depraved world, I don’t have any answer that will satisfy you. However reflecting on my own life and hearing of other Christians journey’s I now believe it to be true that God will work for good in ALL things for those who love Him.

God works for good, yes really! Because of this I have learnt, it’s not about praising Him for the storm but praising Him in it!

 I will praise you in this storm – Casting Crowns


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