All Things for Good

Cross staff recently enjoyed a special treat in our morning devotions. Rev. Jimmy Dodd, executive director of PastorServe and one of Cross’ board members, offered an inspirational message on the words of Romans 8:28. Here’s a synopsis of Jimmy’s message:

Even for the most steadfast Christians, life’s adversities can be tough. Life often presents serious challenges—loss of loved ones, illness, financial

God uses everything in our life—the pain and the joy—for our good.
God uses everything in our life—the pain and the joy—for our good.

worries—that are emotionally trying, sometimes to the point where we might wonder why God has made these things part of our lives. If he loves us so much, then why does he allow us to undergo such pain?

The Bible offers words of consolation in countless verses, but perhaps no verse offers more hope for those struggling with life’s hardships than Romans 8:28: “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.”

Amazing—in all things God works for our good. Even the bad things, the things we wish we didn’t have to endure. The words of Romans 8:28 spell it out very clearly: God is in control, and all those instances that cause us pain are actually being used by God for our benefit, because he loves us and has called us according to his purpose. Call it “repurposing” if you will.

That’s not to say we can’t turn to him for help as we deal with those adversities. In the most agonizing moment of one of life’s challenges, when we cry out to God and tell him we can’t take it anymore, he is there with us. He is there taking those ugly moments and shaping them into something good.

We might be thinking, Something good? Really? Everything, even murder or rape or war? It can be hard to believe, but yes, even those things. In God’s ultimate wisdom that so far exceeds our own, the worst, most horrible things we might experience in life are indeed part of something great he has planned for us. Sometimes it’s not clear to us what that might be, but we can look forward to getting our answer in heaven if not on earth.

Also, let’s not forget the fact that when Romans 8:28 says God is using all things for our benefit, it means he’s using the good things, too! The happy events in our lives are part of his plan for us just as the not-so-happy events are. Perhaps when everything is examined together, the good and bad, we can see that the pain we felt in one moment is balanced out—or completely outweighed—by the joy we felt in another.

So let us take hope in God and trust him to be in control. Let us remember that God’s wisdom surpasses our own, so much that he formed a plan for each of us even before we were born. He’s known about the struggles of your life long before you experienced them, and he’s also shaped a plan that allows the pain to translate into something beautiful, something that holds eternal worth, for you in this life and beyond.

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