Romans 8:28 is a verse I return to often, and I would not be surprised if you do as well, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Remember to put flesh and blood on the authors and persons found in Scripture. Paul wrote these words, and he is looking back at all that has unfolded in his life to make this statement of faith. This isn’t philosophy, and it isn’t theory, it’s faith that Paul is articulating.
I often marvel at my wife’s ability to prepare food. She can take a handful of ingredients and work together something marvelous. Not surprisingly, given the same time and ingredients, I would not be able to do so.
It is a skill to know just how to work ingredients together and make something edible; even more, it is a gift to make it delightful. I am blessed.
Paul is looking back at his missionary trips to Philippi, to Thessalonica, to Athens, to Corinth, a shipwreck, snake bite, beatings, stonings, mobs, rejections, and insults. He reflects and writes, “And we know that God worketh all things together …”
Paul did not say “we think,” or “I’m hopeful that,” or “He does some things,” or even “most things.” No, “all things.” The Greek is exact.
Like the Potter working the clay, the Lord takes the ingredients of life, and works, or mixes, them all together for our good.
Still, this is a restricted promise that does not work until the calling, and an affirmative response to the voice of the One calling. In the ecclesia of Messiah, the called out ones, they are, as Paul writes, “called to be saints” (I Cor. 1:2).
A “saint” is not a perfect looking person, perfect in all ways. No, they are set-apart to God, committed to Him, who are given over to the working of His grace in their lives. He then works the ingredients in the pot, all the troubles and trial, before and after salvation, “according to His purpose.”
The “all things” that once had a say in your life are now silent in the hands of the Chef. They are powerless to give their opinion, as they are now subject to the will of the One working them all together according to His purpose.
The conclusion of the process is found in Romans 8:29. As I have oft said, Romans 8:28 is only understood when read in light of Romans 8:29, as the Lord is conforming us to the image of His Son, in whom we are called.
So all of the circumstances, past and present, that seem to derail you, in His hand will be worked only for His glory, and your good. Given the same ingredients and time, you and I could not cook up a better dish, as we would leave out those moments of the deepest flavor, or more accurately, pain.
I want to give you hope today, as He is working all things, it may seem that someone is trying to over season the pot, but as Paul concludes, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Ro. 8:31)? He will work it out.
Be well. Shalom.