“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We often want this verse to mean, God allows hardship so he can give me something better. For example, a flooded basement means God has a better house in mind for me. A failed relationship or job means God’s got something happier planned. God’s “good” is something tangible, material, immediate . . . right?
Sometimes. Sometimes not.
When we put verse 28 back in context, we see the little word “for.” “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (verse 29).
God works in all things—the heartbreaking and joy-making—for our good. But God’s promise here is not to mop up our spilled ice cream and hand us a bigger cone. His promise is to make us more like Jesus—loving, faithful Jesus who obeyed his Father all the way to the cross.
- God’s primary concern is our holiness, not our prosperity.
- God will work things out for our spiritual good, not always our material good.
- God’s promise is eternal life, not an easy life.
Strangely, it’s a relief! We don’t need to doubt God’s love when we see no tangible good wrestled from evil. We don’t need to wonder if he’s punishing us when things go wrong. We KNOW God is working for our good. How? He’s shaping us to be like Jesus. He’s preparing us for our heavenly home.