All Things Work Together
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
One day while driving, I was asking God why He allowed something to happen that brought with it much pain and sorrow. He pointed me to Romans 8:28 and said, “it is for the good. The greater good, not just what feels good.”
We love to quote Romans 8:28 saying “all things work together for good for those who love God” - and some of us even go as far as to say “for *MY* good” from the perspective that we are the main character in this movie called “Life” and God focuses on working all things together just to benefit us. (His purpose and plans are far greater than just us.) Yes, all things work together for our good but it extends beyond just us.
THEN many of us, in our hearts, go on to define “good” in our own terms. We decide what we believe that “good” should look and feel like and when it doesn’t end up working out how we imagined, we question God as to why He didn’t stick to what He promised and we begin to doubt Him. But did God promise to fulfill the plans you had in your heart or did He promise to fulfill His plans? And...who determines what is and isn’t good? Would not He Who is Good (Luke 18:19) be the One to define the term? And is it that He works things out for our present feelings or perception of what good is or is He orchestrating things to eternally benefit us all and fulfill His perfect will in the earth? To be honest, I believe many of us read Romans 8:28, and the rest of the Word, from a Westernized, self-centered, individualistic view. We see God as a being Who follows our wishes and ensures that our plans pan out when really, we are the beings who submit to the plans He’s already worked out and follow His guidance.
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 HCSB
We believers in America have been trained by society to think about self. We have a tendency to look out for our best interest - what makes *us* happy, what feels good to *us* with little regard to how it will impact others to come. We tend to look at instant gratification rather than think about down the line. But God looks at the WHOLE PICTURE. God looks down the line into the FUTURE. God looks at the GREATER GOOD. God looks at the OVERALL PLAN. God stands at the end and looks back. He plays the “long game” as some would say.
“I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.”
Isaiah 46:10 HCSB
“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’”
Isaiah 46:10 NKJV
He is willing to allow momentary affliction to produce patience, endurance, persistence and push us into purpose. He is willing to allow short-lived troubles to bring about mass redemption and eternal glory...Just as Christ endured much pain and sorrow for the good of all of us who’d believe in Him. (John 3:16-17 & Hebrews 12:2)
Another day I was confiding in my mom about how heartbroken I am for a young widow and how I pray she’ll be okay. My mom responded, “she will be okay. God has plans for her life too.” I was soothed by that as I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:16 and reflected back on what God had spoken to me the week prior concerning Romans 8:28. It also caused me to pause and meditate on the fact that God’s plans won’t always FEEL good but they are ALWAYS GOOD.
Can we trust God and His plans even when those plans don’t look like ours? Can we surrender and submit our plans to His? Can we, like Jesus, say, “not my will but Yours be done?” (Luke 22:42) Can we trust that His plans, His process and His timing are good even when they do not feel good to us?
Anything that transpires in life, though it catches us off guard, was foreseen and woven into God’s perfect plan for our lives. Whatever God allows us to face, He has already equipped us to endure if we lean on Him...and it all always works together for good.
Not getting that promotion may feel like a slap in the face now but maybe there are coworkers on the first floor who still need your witness and had you moved up to the 5th floor, they’d never see that light again.
Maybe that homebuyer loan didn’t go through because it’s not time for you to move. Maybe you’ve yet to share the Gospel with your current neighbors and you’re to lead them to Christ before you go.
Maybe your graduation date was pushed back because there’s someone new coming to campus who needs to see the love of Christ in you.
Maybe you had to change majors from nursing to teaching because there’s a student years down the line who is going to need your love, grace, and patience.
Maybe that loved one didn’t make it because there are lives that will be touched by their testimony and brought to Christ through their passing who otherwise may have never met the Lord.
Maybe this heartbreak is saving you from settling and is pushing you further into your purpose.
Maybe you had to endure this (whatever your “this” is) because there’s going to be someone down the line who will need to hear your story. Maybe this season is enabling you to be able to inspire and encourage someone else. (2 Corinthians 1:4)
God DOES works things together for the GOOD - the good that HE defines that benefits far more than what our individualistic desires could ever dream.
And have you ever looked back on your life and realized that your definition of good had changed? What you once thought you wanted, you now see you do better without and you‘d never desire it now. What you thought you couldn’t endure helped to make you stronger and prepared you for the purpose you’re walking in now.
“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for purpose.”
- Chadwick Boseman
Yeah, it doesn’t FEEL good but it is FOR the good. And a great thing about Christ is that we don’t have a High Priest Who is unfamiliar with our trials. He’s endured them all, overcome them all and carries us through all of the ones we face. He’s experienced every emotion we have and ever will. Trust Him with your rejection. Trust Him with your frustration. Trust Him with your disappointment. Trust Him with your brokenness. Trust Him with your pain and trust His plan in spite of the pain. There’s purpose even in your tears. May we all find peace in that.
(Good scriptures to meditate concerning this: Job 2, Isaiah 40:11; 41:13; 46:4; 54:17; 63:9 & Hebrews 4:15)
“And we know [with great confidence] that God [Who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
Romans 8:28 AMP
“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are His lovers who have been called to fulfill His designed purpose.”
Romans 8:28 TPT
“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 HCSB
“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.”
Psalms 139:16 HCSB
“You saw who You created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days You planned for me were already recorded in Your book.”
Psalms 139:16 TPT
God has not only planned our days, but He has prepared us for all of them. He has filled each of them with purpose. They are all intertwined and orchestrated for the good. Trust God with your present pain, trust His plans for your life, and trust Him to birth something new in you and pull more purpose out of you through what you’re facing.
“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the LORD. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God.”
Isaiah 66:9 NCV
These light and momentary afflictions are nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed. We will endure things that won’t feel good and that pain/discomfort may feel like it’s long lasting but in relation to eternity, it’s short-lived. It all pales in comparison. The pain of the present can’t even begin to compare to the glory of God that is to be revealed in us and to us all. It’s all working together for the good to bring God the glory!!
“We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 TPT