“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 likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Whenever I go to my local gym for a spin class, my trainer pushes me to the limit. Even when I reach the point where my legs begin to feel like they can’t move anymore and I’m panting for each breath, my trainer still pushes me to pedal faster. Although it seems cruel that he would make me go through such gruelling exercise, I know that he is pushing me for the good of my health. He has the goal of wanting me to become the fittest and healthiest person that I can be, and he knows that the hard work that I am putting in now will help me to get there.
I have sometimes heard the words “God works for the good of those who love him” being taken by well-meaning Christians to mean that God will soon bring us relief from whatever problems come our way. The thinking is that if God is working for our good, then surely we don’t have to worry about experiencing anything bad in our lives for very long. Although God does care for all of our needs, Paul tells us that God is primarily concerned about our eternal wellbeing. Just like my gym trainer had a goal for pushing me in my fitness, God has a goal for all the challenges we face in life, a goal which is far more important than just having good physical health. The ultimate good that God is working in each of us is that we would be transformed into the likeness of his perfect son Jesus (verse 29). This doesn’t mean that God promises us a comfortable and trouble free life, or that God will always answer our prayers for deliverance from troubles immediately or in the way we expect him to. It does mean however, that God can use even the hard times in our lives to carry out his plan, so that through all the frustrations, tears, disappointments and heartbreaks we may experience, he will fulfil his promise to complete the good work he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).
Whenever we face hardships or struggle to understand why God has allowed something bad to happen in our lives, we can trust that God has our best interests at heart. This doesn’t mean he will always remove our troubles straightaway, but it does mean that in his wisdom God is doing a greater work in our lives so that one day we will be able to stand perfect before him and share in his glory for all eternity (verse 30). Perhaps we can place these Romans 8 verses somewhere such as in a journal or around the home where we can constantly be reminded of God’s care for us. Pray that God would help you to keep meditating on these verses and taking its truth to heart so that you will have the strength to persevere and trust in his goodness through future trials.
I thank you that in all things you work for my good so that one day I would be perfected in Jesus and experience the joy of being with you in your eternal kingdom forever more. I pray that through all the trials in my life, remind me of your love for me and give me the strength to trust in you, even beyond what I can understand. In Jesus’ name I pray,