Friday morning–I sliced my back, right tire on the truck. Friday night–Jodi locked the keys in the van while we were at a restaurant. Saturday afternoon–I returned home with the cold groceries only to realize I had left home without my keys.
Three inconveniences. None the result of “random, chance processes.”
Sometimes I think God purposely (“As if God does anything without purpose?!”) orchestrates the events of our lives to clearly illustrate biblical truths. I taught on Romans 8:28 this morning. Allow me to quote the passage here:
“And 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.”
Now–if I might, please allow me to quote a selection from a Romans devotional I wrote while serving as a pastor in Las Vegas in 2000.
Experiencing anything hard at the moment? Any circumstance particularly challenging? We all can answer those questions in the affirmative. Without a doubt, life is difficult. As a movie title once indicated, however, life can be beautiful. How? By recognizing just how BIG GOD is and by getting a glimpse of what He is doing. Some of you are currently coming to this wonderful realization. Others of you remember when you first began to see these truths. It happened for me in the early 1990’s at Bryan College. I took a course on Romans and read some great books. Before long, I slowly began to see God break out of my box. It was awesome! Many of you can relate. At the same time, though, life was still difficult. Often and without much notice, the unexpected and undesired happens to us. I am reminded of Gideon’s question to the angel: “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:3). Ever ask that question? I have! What’s the answer? Romans 8:28-30! Look specifically at verse 28. What grand truths! We know from both head and experiential knowledge that God causes all things to work together for our good. We’ve seen this in the Word of God as well as in our lives. He is active in each of our lives accomplishing His sovereign plan. When events are going well for us, how do we respond? In praise! How should we respond when things aren’t going well for us? Job answers the question: “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (The NIV uses the word “trouble.”) You’ve got to admire Job’s answer to the “adversity and trouble” that came into his life: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20). Look at your life. What would you call “adversity or trouble?” Do those circumstances fall into the category of “all things?” Be encouraged! God has a plan. He knows what He is doing and it is “for good.” What good? His glory and your conformity into Christ’s image (see also Rom. 5:3-5). Of course, this is conditional. It is: “for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Does that include you? I hope so! You will know if you love God and live in such a way that you are proving your calling by your actions (see 2 Peter 1). I you truly believe that is the case, then be very encouraged! God is a work and He has your best interest at heart. He knows what He is doing in your life.
Keep your chin up Christian! Strive to keep your gaze heavenward. Life is difficult, but it is also beautiful because our God is doing beautiful, even if painful, things.