28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
Has the past year and half been hard for you? It has for me! Life in a global pandemic is not easy, is it? Suddenly, my five children started doing school from home. My husband lost his job. Health problems, racial injustice, violence, and natural disasters seem to plague us like never before. Good is not an adjective I would use to describe a lot of the current circumstances.
And yet, in Romans 8:28-30 we read that God uses “all things” for the good of those who love Him. The consequences of personal sin, our victories, pain, struggles and joys, the devil’s schemes—all these are included in “all things.” Our God is mighty and all powerful! No matter what happens, if your heart belongs to Him, God can use your agony as an instrument of His mercy.
Verse 29 brings further clarity. God uses the good and the bad that life throws our way to conform us to the likeness of His Son, a constant process of sanctification that isn’t complete until heaven. God gives us a gracious miracle to witness this side of heaven—WE CHANGE! We start to become more like who God created us to be before we were tainted by sin. God is restoring our identity bit by bit, a preview of eternity.
The story of Joseph is a beautiful picture of these verses. A dysfunctional family, a gifted but pompous boy, and jealous brothers with evil intentions were all used by God. Joseph explains this phenomenon in Genesis 50:20. “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good.” The original Hebrew verb in this verse means to “weave” or to “plait.”
Keep that in mind and look at this verse again. Joseph is saying that his brothers wove evil against him, and God took those same exact threads and picked out all the tangles. Then He rewove what happened into something new. God redeemed all the bad things that had happened to Joseph and used them for good.
God even used the bad things to begin to change one of Joseph’s brother’s hearts. At the beginning of the story, Joseph’s brother Judah was the one who had the idea to sell Joseph. Judah treated his daughter-in-law Tamar horribly. But God used these events to begin to change Judah. When we see him in Egypt offering his own life for his brother Benjamin, we don’t recognize him. The Judah we see now is an ancestor of our Savior, The Lion of Judah.
God used all things for good in the story of Joseph. God rewove the strands of evil and used them to sanctify His precious children. The result was forgiveness, the restoration of a family, the salvation of hearts, deliverance from a famine, and a role in God’s story of redemption. How exciting! I can’t wait to see how God reweaves my story!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Paul talks about this unique process in the Christian life in Philippians 3:12-14. “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
- What do you see in these verses in Philippians that helps you to further understand Romans 8:28-30? How can you apply these truths to your present life as well as to your past?
- Yesterday’s devotional had us looking into how the Holy Spirit helps us to pray effectively. Spend some time in prayer today and see what God has to say about “all things” in your life.
Pray for local partner ministry The Path Project, as they provide food and summer programming for school age children. Pray for their leadership and for the families they serve in Franklin.