The first words that many people like to quote when misfortune hits are: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). But that’s hard to believe in hard times. I once sat with a man who had lost his third son in a row, and I listened as he lamented, “How can this tragedy work for my good?” I had no answer but to sit silently and mourn with him. Several months later, he was thankful as he said, “My sorrow is drawing me closer to God.”
Tough as Romans 8:28 may be to understand, countless testimonies give credence to the truth of it. The story of hymn writer Fanny Crosby is a classic example. The world is the beneficiary of her memorable hymns, yet what worked together for good was born out of her personal tragedy, for she became blind when she was an infant. At only age 8, she began to write poetry and hymns. Writing over 8,000 sacred songs and hymns, she blessed the world with such popular songs as “Blessed Assurance,” “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” and “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.” God used her difficulty to bring good for her and us and glory for Him.
When tragedy befalls us, it’s hard to understand how anything good can come from it, and we won’t always see it in this life. But God has good purposes and always remains with us.
What trial in your life have you found to be for your good? What good things have come from it? What are you now suffering that you pray will bring something good?
God always has good purposes for our trials.
Romans 8:28 is often given as a promise to comfort and encourage those who are going through difficult and painful times. This promise is all-encompassing, for “all things” must include the good and the bad circumstances of life. It assures us that God is not absent and is sovereignly working in all things for our good. Although He may seem silent or even out of sight, nothing is ever wasted in the hands of God. The Old Testament equivalent of Romans 8:28 is Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (nlt). Romans 8:28 is a promise with a redemptive purpose, for God wants us “to become like his Son” (v. 29 nlt). Sim Kay Tee