“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
The Bible shows us that God is sovereign over all, but what does this really mean? The sovereignty of God can be summed up with this simple statement: “God is in control.” Period. This is one of the most beautiful characteristics of God. He is in control. Nothing happens outside of His power and His will. This sounds great but can be very difficult to believe when things in our life are out of control. This is because we often mistakenly equate God’s sovereignty with our control. If things are going well and we feel in control, we can freely say, “God is in control!” But when things are spiraling in chaos and we feel out of control, it is easy to question whether or not God is truly sovereign.
Our four children love Disney World. After all, it is the happiest place on earth! Many of us drank the “Happily Ever After” Kool-aid that Disney has been telling us for years – that all of our dreams can come true, and we can have the fairy tale ending if we will just do the right thing, treat people with kindness and wish upon a star! Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
The problem with this fairy tale mindset is life happens! Things don’t always go the way we planned. Tragedy strikes, someone walks away from us and leaves us alone and abandoned; we are told we have cancer or we lose a loved one. God, where are You in all of this? Where is my happy ending? Are You sovereign? Are You really in control?
This is where the truth of God’s Word meets us in our reality and shows us the promise and hope we all long for. Romans 8:28 is one of the most sobering and hope-filled passages in all of Scripture. It is sobering because the apostle Paul is telling us that there are many things that will happen to us in life that will not appear to be good. It is hope-filled because Paul is telling us that when those things happen, if you love God and are called according to His purpose, God will work all things together for your good. This is the promise of God to a specific group of people. Who is this promise for? “Those who love God and are called according to His purpose!”
What will work together for their good? All things! But wait, what about the things in our life that we know are not good? Cancer, death, terrorism, racism, or school shootings? All things. All things mean all things. This can be a struggle for us to believe.
All things don’t seem to be good for my life. All things don’t seem to be what I want for my life. All things don’t seem to be in accordance with my plans. How could all this be for my good? The answer is simple. All things can work together for good because God is good! He is sovereign and in control. He sees what we cannot see. He knows when we don’t understand. He has written the end of the story, and the conclusion is for our good!
His story is greater than our current reality and those who love Him and trust Him will experience the fulfillment of His hope-filled promise that says, “all things work together for good…”
Adapted from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.