We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
What can we cling to when we are going through a time of suffering? First, we need to understand that God’s purpose for our life is good. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I’ve heard people try to explain this verse and they said, “Well, what this verse means is, there is a silver lining in every cloud,” or “No matter how terrible the situation, look hard enough and you’ll see some good in it.” That is not what Paul is saying here. There is not a silver lining in every cloud. There are some circumstances that happen to you that have absolutely zero good in them whatsoever. They are completely evil. But what God is saying here is, that somehow God is able to work all of those things. Not only the good things, but the terrible things in your life. He is able to work them together for good.
Now the key word to understand here is the word “good.” What is the good that God is causing all things together for? Let me tell you what the good is not. The good is not a satisfying marriage. The good is not a disease-free life. The good is not a large bank account. The good purpose is explained in verse 29: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” God is working your life for one purpose, which is to use every circumstance to mold you to become just like His Son. That is the good that God causes all things to work together for. He is working to shape you into someone who resembles Jesus in the way you think, the way you react, the way you talk, and the things you love. And how does He do that? It is not through the good times, but it is through the difficult times that God makes you like Christ.
One of the most interesting verses in the New Testament to me is Hebrews 5:8. In talking about Jesus it says, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” I don’t understand that, because Jesus was perfect—and yet there were some things even Jesus needed to learn. The Bible says Jesus learned obedience not by the things He enjoyed but by the things he suffered. We rarely learn anything during good times. Instead, it is through the difficult times that God molds us and shapes us and hammers away the things that aren’t like Christ in our lives.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Healing Words for Hurting Hearts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.