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
to those who love God
It is interesting that God clearly communicates that all things do not work for good for those who are not called according to God’s purpose — who do not love God. The sentence in the Greek puts this phrase first in the sentence right after, “We know,” it reads, We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.
There are clearly things that work out to harm — great harm to the unregenerate and those who turn their back on God and those who do not love God. They may experience the common grace of God and enjoy many of His blessings but they do not have the promise that God is watching over their lives and superintending all things that come their way. He is not insuring that there is a way to come out of every difficulty for the person who is in love with himself or herself.
There is a gap between stimulus and response called our choice. In this passage it is called our love for God. Will we lean into the situation and see what positive thing God may have hidden in it or will we be defeated by it and submit to the evil. Will we love God enough to look for the good that is hidden in or is possibly because of or is tangential to the situation that has barged into our life? This is not easy and is an incredible amount of work mentally. We must consistently look for the gift, the blessing, the positive in each thing.
Each of us has the ability to respond to the situations and difficulties that are injected into our lives in different ways. It is our response that will determine whether this thing stays a difficulty, problem or evil. Our response can change it into a good. For many people difficulties, hard blessings, and evil just mow them down. They do not embrace the idea that there is a pony hidden in everything somewhere.
Because of this verse and others in the Bible I can confidently say that I am an inverse paranoid. I understand that there is a conspiracy operating behind the scenes to bless me and have even negative things become positive in my life. Every day God is sending me blessings and positive benefits, it is up to me to see them and seize them so that the benefit will come to my life.
It is possible for me to miss the blessings that God is sending. It is possible for me to ignore the grace of God that will allow God to turn a negative into a positive in my life. It is also possible for me to not use the grace of God in a negative situation and therefore to fail to extract the positive benefit that is hiding in it.
To love the real God is to understand that He is Almighty and Sovereign. This means that He is in charge and wants my good. He is able to take the negative flow of history and put a blessing in it as it flows through and over me so that my life is blessed even in the midst of evil and selfish people around me. To love God means that I look for His sovereign hand and these blessings. It means that I should be like David when he was being chased by Saul, he realized that God was doing good to him even while Saul was trying to kill him. It means that just like Christ as he submitted to being tortured and eventually killed, he was accomplishing a good that the Father had planned for him and that the Father would raise Him up on the third day. It means that just like Hosea suffered when his wife was running away, God was going to extract a good out of this situation if he would pay attention and love God deeply.
to those who are called
To be called according to God’s purpose is to be a child of God, redeemed and bound for heaven. God has no children who do not have a purpose. He knows exactly where He wants every person to serve. Each person has a mission and a purpose. This is essential to seeing the good in the various situations and circumstances that God allows to come our way. He can and will extract the good in its schooling and preparation for an ultimate purpose. Realize that God has a purpose and a mission for your life. You were created with a reason in mind. You are supposed to glorify God in someway and your abilities, gifts, experiences, and passion all contribute to that purpose. As you realize that your mission involves uniquely glorifying God with your gifts, experiences, talents and personality you can see how God is using this circumstance for good.
according to His purpose
It is important to realize that our lives will not make sense if we try to see them as maximizing our pleasure and comfort. They are not designed to do that. God is making sure that no matter the sin in the world, you will have the ability and opportunity to fulfill His purpose for your life. He is giving you the opportunity to have a purposeful and meaningful life that glorifies Him. Some people have objected that God should design everything to funnel towards our individual pleasure and comfort, but this is clearly not what He has done. It would also be insanity to try and design a world in which every person’s personal pleasure was the summum bonum of history.
Look for the good hidden in the various events of the day. Realize that there is a conspiracy to bless you today, this week, this month, this year, so cooperate with what God is doing. Everything that moves you toward glorifying God more and fulfilling your purpose is a good thing and will fill your life with purpose and meaning.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.