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)
We who have trusted in Jesus know something. We know something no one else knows. It is one of the great secrets of life and one of the keys to consistent, deep, abiding joy. What do we know? That our sovereign God, Jesus Christ, the Lord of history, who reigns on his throne for us, causes all things–ALL things–to work together for our good. Really? ALL things? Yes. All things.
All of history. Kingdoms and rulers, wars and discoveries.
All that has happened in our lives–Where we were born, the country, state and town you live in, the language you speak
The period of history we live in
Our education (or lack of)
Every event in our childhood and teenage years.
Jesus causes all good things to work for our good:
First of all, Jesus’ own life was and is for our good, both in eternity and now. Every word he spoke, every action, every miracle–they all work for our good now, especially the cross and the resurrection.
All of heaven, the angels and saints above.
The Bible and prayer–how powerful they are!
The church, worship, giving, preaching, serving, the gifts of the Spirit, working through conflicts with brothers and sisters–it’s all for our good.
Our families–our dads, moms, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents.
Books, music, art, technology, medicine, computers, the internet, television.
Jesus causes all of creation–the stars and galaxies, gravity, the laws of thermodynamics, plants and animals and birds and bugs (yes, I tell myself, even our two dogs) to work for our good.
It’s easy to see how God uses all good things for our good. But we know by faith that Jesus causes all evil and bad things to work together for our good. Jesus turns to our good:
Every sin we’ve committed. By no means does this encourage us to sin, for sin offends our holy God. We may look back on our sins with deep regret and sadness, but Jesus is so great he causes even them to work together for our good. Jesus also uses:
Our temptations and struggles
All things from our past, tragic or sad
Every evil in the world
Satan and demons
Every trial, affliction, and tragedy we face now
Every sad thing
Every sickness and disease
Every failure or poor decision
Every bad thing someone does to us, every sin someone commits against us.
But wait, there’s more: Jesus works together for our good:
Times of waiting
Weakness, pain, confusion, misery, boredom, emptiness. You get the idea.
Why do all things work together for our good? Because Jesus is on the throne, sovereign over all, and he loves us. He works day and night for our good. Not one single thing that happens to us is outside his control or purpose for us.
And what is our “good”? To be like him, to know him and enjoy his fellowship and love. To be holy like he is, and have his image stamped upon us. To be overflowing with the fruit of his Spirit. To be filled with his joy forever.
Let us remember this today and give him praise for everything that happens to us. Let’s praise him for as much as we can. For every good thing and every bad thing. Someday we’ll see how Jesus’ divine genius worked them for our eternal everlasting good.
Mark Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.