Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

In All Things…

on October 24, 2012

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

in all thingsThis is another of those famous “kitchen wall” verses… How many times have you said it or had it quoted to you when your world was falling apart? Sometimes it’s kind of hard to stomach. What is good about your marriage on the rocks? Or your parent with Alzheimers? Or a miscarriage?

We recently studied The Hand of God by Alistair Begg at Sunday School, and it features an in-depth study of Joseph from Genesis, using this verse as its cornerstone. This was a little different translation than I was used to– I have said many times, “God works for good,” or “All things work together for good,” implying that the events themselves were good– which they clearly are not! Or else the situations are good– which they clearly are not, either!

Here’s the deal. All things that happen are either allowed by God, or sometimes He intervenes, and they are caused directly by Him. I believe that since God is good, He does not directly cause any bad thing to happen, but since sin entered the world, bad things do happen, and He does sometimes allow them to. Why? Because He knows that through trials and troubles, we can grow closer to Him; our faith and dependence on Him can grow, and we can become more conformed to His image. Sometimes we get past the trial and say, “Oh, I see what He was teaching me.” Sometimes someone else will tell us what an inspiration we were. But sometimes we never know in this life. This too requires faith, that our suffering is helping SOMEBODY.

There are three key phrases to the understanding of this verse:

In all things — Not all things that happen are good, but in every situation, while it’s going on, God is there working, possibly behind the scenes where you can’t imagine Him to be, but He’s there nonetheless. Nothing happens without His permission. Even bad things.

For the good— Here’s where it begins to get challenging, and requires faith! What does God see as “our good?” How does it compare to our idea of “our good?” Well, have you ever told your child “NO” and he thought his world would end? Why did you say he couldn’t eat that snack, buy that toy, visit that friend, stay up past bedtime? Why did you make her get that vaccination, which hurt, or take that medicine which tasted horrible? Did she understand that it was for her good? Of course not! Sometimes it’s the same with us. We have to remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8)  We tend to see the end of our nose, while He sees way beyond. Remember Garth Brooks’ old song “Thank God for unanswered prayers?” This is where faith comes in. Father, I don’t like what’s happening, but I trust that You know better; that You can take me through it and make it for my good.

Called according to His purpose— Here’s the last part, and it requires faith in His judgment too. What is His purpose for our lives? Comfort, pleasure, prosperity? Maybe. But above all, He desires for us to grow in the likeness of Christ, and fellowship with Him, and to be His ambassadors in the world.

When we persevere through impossible situations and we still love God and our families; and maintain a Christlike attitude and heart, what do the unbelievers around us say? (Even I, a believer, am amazed at the way some of my Christian brothers and sisters handle devastating trials!) When we are able to keep our heads about us and not embarrass God by our pity parties and hissyfits, it is a tremendous witness to a watching world that we have something different– something that they might want.

So, next time you are in the midst of a trial– and you will be– ask God to teach you what you need to learn, and tell Him that you trust Him to get you to the other side more like Him and closer to Him.

Have you seen “the good” in a seemingly hopeless situation?


14 responses to “In All Things…

  1. Becca says:

    Found your post via Beauty from Ashes. Thanks for sharing this encouragement. I know a very godly woman who is facing difficult health issues. She has been an inspiration to me during this time. She glows. Her faith remains unshaken and she is growing through this. Oh, I desire that attitude in my own life!

  2. Kat @C2C says:

    Whenever I go through a rough patch, James chapter one goes through my head: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

    Trials stink, big time!! But they are what refine and purify us, our sanctification. It prepares us for heaven.

    Also, trials help us minister to others. We can fully empathize with others and walk along side them.

  3. Rejoycin says:

    I my own life I have seen the good in many disappointments and failures. I have seen my very strength build rapidly when it made not sense as I shared with others, “I was a really bad time but a very good time in my life”. Oh course they look at you a bit odd but, in trials I have sensed His presence and been closer and more tender toward others. In broken we have a better opportunity to connecting with the broken. Pain calls pain– we gather and Christ can be shared.

  4. Charlotte says:

    This has been one of my favorite scriptures for many years. The life of Joseph so clearly illustrates the truth of it. I have found it to be true in my own life as well.

  5. Jamie Clark says:

    Just stopped by from The Sasse Life Sunday Social Blog Hop! Love the Oscar Wilde quote. Great blog 🙂 Happy Sunday!

  6. This is such a good post to be reminded about how God works all things for the good but not all things ARE good. That can be such a hard thing to grasp especially when you are in a dark place.

  7. Charlotte says:

    This is one of my favorite verses. I love how assuring it is even when bad things are happening because we know in the end it will work for our good. I’ve seen this so much in my life.

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