Girls, it occurred to me last night as I lay down to go to sleep that a lot of us are in deep trials and suffering right now in our lives. Joblessness, anxiety, health issues, family issues, and deep heartache from divorce or death are only a few of the things I can name off the top of my head. These are heavy burdens…
I want to thank you earnestly from the bottom of my heart for y’all being willing to share those things with the group. I also wanted to send you this email to encourage you. I want to share with you some thoughts on Romans 8:28-29.
You have probably heard the first verse, 28, as it is often said, "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." But people often misinterpret this verse to mean that God works in all things so that your life will be good, and that is His purpose. Like, God works in all things so you can have a “good” and happy life. The problem with that is, where is the happiness in divorce? Where is the good in sickness and suffering and lack of peace? Where is the good in death? How is that for our “good,” God?
Well, it’s not. None of those things are for our “good” in the common way we think of that word. Those things are heartbreaking and gut wrenching and awful, in fact. But we have to read the verse in context to understand, that is not what God through Paul was trying to say. What God defines as “good,” what the real definition of good is, comes right after, in verse 29: "For those who God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
God’s meaning for “good,” and His primary purpose for you and your life, is for you to be made more like Christ. Your happiness and contentment and fulfillment and joy and peace will likely result, but that is secondary to His “good” purpose. When you become more and more like Christ, which is the “good,” you will be able to shine His character and love/live like He did, helping others understand and receive salvation. You becoming more like Christ will ALWAYS be for your good because it is for God’s glory.
But sometimes the process of becoming more like Christ can be extremely difficult. When you think about it, it makes sense. How else do we grow in our patience if not to experience things that make us have to wait? We would have no way of learning patience otherwise!! Waiting is hard, but patience is the “good” and Godly quality that comes out of it. Suffering and heartache are awful, but receiving deep comfort and peace from Christ is the “good” that comes out of it. And there is something about suffering that connects us to Him in a profound way…we get to experience a tiny taste of what He went through on the cross. If there is anyone who has been through immense suffering and heartache and physical pain, it’s Jesus. We tore his heart AND his body in two.
Also, it’s not as though God enjoys you suffering; rather, the Bible says He hates the suffering of His children and He suffers with us. Remember, it was never His design for us to experience suffering in the first place-- we ruined perfection and His good plan for us when we sinned in the Garden of Eden. We brought sin and suffering and even death into this world. But…being the redeemer that He is, He longs to bring “good” even through our trials, even through our sin and self destruction; that we might be made into the image of Christ in the process. He longs for you to live out the peace and hope and love that is Him in You.
So, if you are hurting, if you are suffering, instead of saying, “Why me?” or “When will this end?” or “Why are you doing this to me, God?” A better question to ask yourself would be this: “How is God trying to make me more like Christ through all of this?” or “What lesson is God trying to teach me through all of this?” Even if you can’t see it yet, those questions will lead you to the “good.” J
Love you all,