Romans 8:28 has long been a special verse for me. My mother ‘gave’ it to me when I moved away from home. And it’s the beginning of the passage Helen and I had for our wedding. It’s one I’ve returned to many, many times. It has been in my mind again recently as I was studying Romans with someone. And it has featured in a book I’ve been reading on God’s providence.
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.
The verse raises a number of questions: In all things? Is God really working for our good in all things, even the bad things? The death of loved ones? Children going astray? Cancer? Our own sins and mistakes? Yes, that’s what it says.
For good? Is he really working all things for our good? Yes, that’s what it says. But we need to be careful in understanding what this ‘good’ is. It’s not necessarily what we want! Verse 29 goes on to tell us that “those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”. Here’s the good that God is working towards: that I become more Christian and that more people become Christians.
God? Is it really God working in all things? Or do they simply happen, and he can’t stop them? Again, that’s what it says. It’s a testimony to God’s almighty power, that he can and does work anything and everything in the universe to accomplish his great and good purpose.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)