"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. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified." Romans 8:28-30.
How rich with meaning and promise these words are for God's children!
With confidence in the character and faithfulness of God, Paul declared, "We know!" How did Paul know? Revelation, faith and experience! That's how we know anything about God and His ways. Some only have revelation knowledge. They read the information contained in God's Word. It lodges in their brain as something they remember but it makes no difference to their lives. This goes no farther than knowing about what God has said about Himself and His ways.
Others may go a little farther by believing what they have read and giving assent to it as the truth. But, until they act on it, it remains nothing more than information. However, when belief becomes action and becomes personal experience, like Paul, they can say, "We know!"
Hardships and trouble come to all of us. They are unavoidable, but the way we interpret and respond to them makes all the difference between stress and rest. Paul rested in God because, through experience he had learned that God was able to bring good out of the worst of situations. It all depended on his perspective on life. Like Joseph said of his brothers, Paul was able to say, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."
Of course it all depends on our attitude to God. If we view Him as an enemy, we will blame Him for everything bad that happens to us. If we recognise Him as our loving Father, we will wait and look for the good that will eventually be revealed, even in the worst of circumstances. And we will understand the motive behind the situations He allows us to go through. He's got a plan.
So much of our old sinful nature still clings to us. It must be chiselled away through tough experiences which drive us onto God's mercy. Like little children we take shelter in Daddy's lap. We learn that the temporal things of this life, possessions, activities, useless baubles and trinkets that decorate our lives and act as distractors, cannot support us when we are in physical or emotional pain. We need the comfort and love of our Abba to give us strength and reassurance in our suffering.
We learn to value the things that really matter - people, family, relationships, friendship, love, tolerance, forgiveness, patience, generosity, peace - and loosen our grip on the transient things of this world. God wants a family; sons and daughters who are like His Son Jesus. The raw material He has to work with, His new-born children, is not anything like His Son but, through the process of discipline and moulding, He slowly transforms us into the image of Jesus.
The outcome is sure because it is God, not people, who does the moulding. He shapes us according to His blueprint, His son, secure in the knowledge that, from His perspective, the work is already complete. When He predestined us, He had sons and daughters in mind. When He called us, He could see the end result. When He worked on us we were already innocent because He justified us through His Son's death. As He crafted us, he could see Jesus mirrored in our faces.
What more can He do than He has already done? What does He want from you in return? Trust! Just trust! Instead of kicking and screaming, biting and scratching whenever life tightens its grip on you, just be still. He is at work in you. He will never do anything to hurt or destroy you. Because He loves you, He has a goal - to set you free from every destructive way so that you will become as beautiful and glorious as His own Son.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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