It is common practice to take stock of one’s previous year during this season. For many, this is a deeply bitter process.
There was once a time when man had no folly, when he made no mistakes, found himself free from error, and knew not sin. And there will again be such a time, when folly and mistakes and error and sin have all been vanquished, even as the elements themselves have been dissolved in fire.
But, in the meantime, quite tragically, man’s existence is full of folly, full of mistakes, full of error, and full of the wickedness of sin. It is a sad certainty that last year, from your own willing decisions, you damaged yourself and others as a result of your folly and sin. And it is a certainty, if you live to see the year through, that you will have damaged yourself and others because of your folly and sin in 2018. This damage always brings with it pain, and regret, and heartache, and the long-lingering bitter aftertaste. In life, it is inescapable.
And this is why Romans 8:28 is not an easy, light, or fluffy verse. For those whose lives are full of regret, for those who have left in their wakes damage and heartache to self and others, it is one of the Bible’s most difficult verses to hold to in faith.
“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.”
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him, to those who are called according to his purpose.
If you are a Christian, everything in your life has occurred according to the working of God, for your everlasting good. Chosen to be his before time and destined for unending glory, glory beyond our grasping, everything in your life happens for your good, as God, your heavenly Father, orchestrates it all.
That means that everything in your life that you wish you could forget, everything in your life that has left anguish and pain and frustration, everything that has wrought crippling damage, has happened according to the working of God. God has worked it all for your good, a good that is hard for the disbelieving to accept, but a good that is good indeed.
This is true not only of the things that have happened to you, but also of the things you have done. Even when you can specifically put the finger on precisely where you went wrong, where you did that which defied all wisdom, reason, and common sense, where you did evil over and against the good that you knew was required, God worked it, every single time, for your good.
This verse leaves no rooms for “buts” or exceptions. It covers every detail of your days, whether they be marked by gladness or bitterness and despair. This verse has been true every day of 2017; and it shall be true this year and every year remaining.
Christian, you love God because he loves you, and has called you according to his electing purpose. And because that can never change, know that it will always be the case that God has ever worked and shall ever work every jot and tittle for your good.
All things. Your good. His glory.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the pain, the damage, the regret will ride the wind. It does mean, for you, Christian, that every moment of your existence, the easy moments and the hard ones, are moments that scream out for gratitude. Even when you wince this year, be grateful, as impossible as that may sound. For your God is working it all for your good.
Father, thank you for it all, even for the times I wish I’d done it all too differently. You’re kinder to me than I could ever deserve. Help me to be grateful, even when it hurts.