If you have ever had a rough day, you may have heard someone quote to you, Romans 8:28. It is an often misunderstood and misapplied verse. Outside of the obvious contextual problems that many stumble upon….there are greater issues at stake. The character of God is at stake.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)
“Oh you lost your job? Don’t worry…God works all things out for good.”
“Oh your lost your house in foreclosure?…Don’t worry…God works all things out for good.”
“Oh you have cancer?…Don’t worry……”
Have you ever said or heard somebody say the following? “God was really good to me today!” “God showed up in a really big way!” “Wow, that was a “God” thing!” Now we really know what you mean, but think about it for a moment with me.
The problem with this interpretation, is our implication of the failure of God’s “Godness” all the time. No, that is not misspelled. God is good everyday! What we are really saying, to the person struggling through a trial is, “Don’t worry, God was not good to you today. He will be good later on down the road. He was just a little late on this one.” Is this true?
This is usually not what someone wants to hear when they are going through a rough time. We have all been “that” person who wants to fix the problem. We don’t have to be “that” person. Sometimes, we just need to shut up and listen. We need to lend our shoulder for somebody to cry on. The most powerful times of ministry in my life have been when I didn’t say a word.
How do you know that God wasn’t good to that person during that trial or situation? What if God’s “good” for that person was really our definition of “not good”? Bad things do happen to God’s people all the time. Is this a failure on God’s part? Or is this a part of His Sovereign will that knows what is truly good for each one of us? Also, what may be good for one person may not be true for another. People are different. Circumstances are different. What you may consider a good thing may not be good for me! God knows what is best for all of us. His divine purpose is the BEST for everybody!
We love to define “good” by what brings us the most pleasure, comfort and success. We are a very selfish and self centered people. We need to stop defining what is “good” by what happens to us. We need to start defining what is good by who God is! Pastor Tom Ascol of Grace Baptist Church, in Cape Coral, recently said the following.
“God does not do things because they are good. Things are good because God does them” – Tom Ascol
Why does God work things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose? Is it so I can have “My Best Life Now?” No. The ultimate goal of this endeavor is for His Glory. God does good things to me so that I can be made into the image of His Son. My sanctification is the result of the “good” that is happening to me. And this “good” happens to me every day!
I may not have the best job, house, clothes or gadgets. I may not be in perfect health, but this one thing remains true. God is God and God is Good. Whatever God does is good. If my “good” doesn’t line up with Him, I need to change my definition. God is Good…I am not.