Will God Really Work All Things Together for Our Good?
By: Lynette Kittle
“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”—Romans 8:28
Do we really believe when things don’t go our way, that God will work all things together for our good in our lives? What is our reaction, and where do our thoughts lead us when a major household appliance breaks down? Or, how do we handle it when a store overcharges us a large amount of money and we have to wait 7-10 days for a refund? After a car accident, when we’re left without transportation, do we believe that somehow it will all work together for our best?
In all these situations where we suffer losses and are inconvenienced, where we feel drained of energy and resources, exhausted dealing with the hassles involved in the losses, replacements, and so forth, do we really believe God will work these things together for good in our lives?
Trusting God to Keep His Word
What if instead of letting the situations and our emotions lead our responses when something unexpected or unpleasant happens, we choose to correct ourselves by remembering what God’s Word says about His working all things together for our good? Rather than letting angry, fearful, disappointed thoughts lead us astray, what if we purposely turn our thoughts and words to trust God’s Word over the situation and circumstances? What might we experience if we choose to go the opposite way our emotions try to take us?
Philippians 4:6-7 describes what we can expect to happen when we choose this route over fear, anxiety, stress, and distress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What about Major Heartbreaks?
Even more so, what about more difficult things that happen in life, such as devastating tragedies like losing a loved one, experiencing a natural disaster, or all at the same time? Is it even possible for us to believe God can bring good from horrific events and losses? Human emotions are quick to rush in and often take over in such heartbreaking situations. When they do, how do we respond? Are we quick to readjust our frail and vulnerable first responses to line up with God’s word rather than our situation? Or do we let the circumstances run away with us and take us off to dark places with our thoughts and emotions?
Leaning into Him During the Deepest, Darkest Hours
Trusting God and believing what His Word tells us is true takes time and practice to develop within us. It also takes a commitment to know His word and let it lead us in our responses. Turning to God and His promises rather than our own fears brings comfort and relief, freeing us from distress, panic, and doubt. Even if it looks impossible for an event, situation, or circumstance to ever be worked together for our good, we can choose to trust Him. We can resist trying to second guess or figure out how God could possibly weave it together in a good way..
Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Even in the deepest, darkest hours, we can lean on Him. We can trust His Word, His truth, even when it doesn’t seem to fit or make sense to us at the time.
Go to the Ant
By Charles Stanley
God is a masterful Creator. He has integrated many of His principles into the fabric of nature so that we can see His handiwork and learn of Him (Ps. 19:1-6). If you desire to acquire wisdom, do not neglect to look outdoors for His lessons.
Now, of course, the outdoors sometimes comes inside. If you’ve ever battled ants in your kitchen or pantry, wisdom probably isn’t the first trait you would attribute to them—you probably would choose a description more like determination. But to the lazy person, God points out these tiny creatures as an example of wise living. Simply consider how many characteristics of the ant people would be smart to adopt: preparation, cooperation, perseverance, diligence, unity, and the list goes on. So interacting with righteous men isn’t the only way to acquire wisdom. God also wants us to observe the lowly ant that He created to work in community.
There’s much to learn from the created world. By directing attention to the birds, Jesus challenges His followers to consider the folly of anxiety (Matt. 6:26). Birds do not reap or gather grain but rather assume their food will be supplied as it always has been. The lesson in this observation of nature is that the Lord who provides for birds can be trusted to meet His people’s needs as well.
Our quest for wisdom is to be rooted in Scripture and covered in prayer. But don’t overlook the many lessons unfolding right outside the front door. Ask God for “eyes to see” (Mark 8:18). Then take every chance to grow in understanding so your capacity to live by His principles will be strengthened.
The Lord Appeared to Isaac – Streams in the Desert – January 15
- 202315 Jan
And the Lord appeared unto Isaac the same night (Genesis 26:24).
“Appeared the same night,” the night on which he went to Beer-sheba. Do you think this revelation was an accident? Do you think the time of it was an accident? Do you think it could have happened on any other night as well as this? If so, you are grievously mistaken. Why did it come to Isaac in the night on which he reached Beer-sheba? Because that was the night on which he reached rest. In his old locality, he had been tormented. There had been a whole series of petty quarrels about the possession of paltry wells. There are no worries like little worries, particularly if there is an accumulation of them. Isaac felt this. Even after the strife was past, the place retained a disagreeable association. He determined to leave. He sought change of scene. He pitched his tent away from the place of former strife. That very night the revelation came. God spoke when there was no inward storm. He could not speak when the mind was fretted; His voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the hush of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God sweep by. His still night was his starry night.
My soul, hast thou pondered these words, “Be still, and know”? In the hour of perturbation, thou canst not hear the answer to thy prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come long after the heart got no response in the moment of its crying — in its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But when the crying ceased, when the stillness fell, when thy hand desisted from knocking on the iron gate, when the interest of other lives broke the tragedy of thine own, then appeared the long-delayed reply. Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart’s desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care. Hide thy tempest of individual trouble behind the altar of a common tribulation and, that same night, the Lord shall appear to thee. The rainbow shall span the place of the subsiding flood, and in thy stillness thou shalt hear the everlasting music.
Genesis 15:6 6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Salvation has always been by grace through faith. God reached out to Abram and gave him promises of a son and of possession of the land. God promised his descendants would outnumber the stars, and Abram believed. The apostle Paul wrote,4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. Romans 4:4-5 (NIV)
He went on to say that this is before the law and before circumcision. Abram had done nothing but believe God, and God credited it to him as righteousness. This shows us that the way to God is simply believing God, not keeping some set of rules or performing some action. It is when we receive what God has said as truth.
Throughout the ages man has come to God in the same way. Only the death of the Son of God in our place makes it possible for this transaction. The righteousness credited to us is the righteous life of Jesus. Since God never changes and does not have a different set of standards for different people, we can see that all mankind comes to God in the same way. God reveals Himself to man, and man either believes God or turns from God and trusts self. Paul wrote that this grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men. We need not worry that God will be unjust and damn forever those who never had a chance. Creation testifies of God, and the Spirit of God shines on every heart to give each of us an opportunity to believe.
This does not let us out of the responsibility of sharing the plan of salvation, for that is the Great Commission. It does, however, show us that God loves the world and is not willing that any should perish.
Consider: All will have an opportunity to do as Abram did, to believe the LORD. Do you really believe Him?