“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.” Romans 8:28
We read it and quote it. But do we believe it? Really? What about when God answers your prayer with a no instead of a yes? When you find yourself absorbed by worry, taken prisoner by insecurity and fear? When you feel like you’re stuck and there’s no way out? What about when it feels like someone tossed a grenade in your dream box?
Here’s the truth I’m learning:
ALL things includes great times of joy AND dark times of sorrow and despair. When God says ALL, he means ALL, every bit of it, to the last drop of his Son’s blood that paid for it ALL.
Finally, my thick skull is understanding that if I’m going to follow Jesus I have to act as if I really believe his Word. I have to willfully trade fear for assurance, reluctance for obedience, anxiety for peace, my will for his, comfort and ease for whatever his plan is for my journey. Yes, the reality of pain and disappointment demand our attention. But you and I have a choice to surrender these to God’s promises and not let our emotions lead us.
So even though we received news that the cancer may still remain and even though a serious mold infection causes great pain, and even though God again takes our Bolivia move off the table (for now or forever) we’re going to be okay with that.
God could answer my prayers just as I ask; but typically he has something better in mind. If I’m going to get upset when my prayers are answered differently than I wanted then I’ll have to take out my scissors and remove Romans 8:28 from the bible. I’ll have to remove Philippians 4:19 that says he meets all my needs. I’ll have to remove everything that speaks to his great promises. I’ll need to take the scissors to most all the Old Testament that speaks to his enduring faithfulness. If I think my life is supposed to be one of leisure and comfort, I’ll need to remove most the New Testament that speaks to suffering with Christ. All I’ll be left with is “God is love” and a handful of other comfortable verses.
BUT if I really believe God’s way is best and I really do want to follow him, then I just have to believe he really will work ALL things for good in ALL situations, for ALL those who love him and follow him…even those situations that challenge us most. Trust needs to be backed up by the bravery of action.
Maybe the bravest Christian in recent history was the SECOND Oregon student who said, “Yes, I’m Christian” after watching the first one be shot in the head. A few weeks ago CMA Pastor Edward Awabdeh was martyred for his faith by ISIS. He intentionally took the risk by staying in his village to care for and encourage the people in his village. He is now in heaven but only after living out the practicality of Romans 8:28.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “God knows that soldiers can only be made in times of battle and are not developed in times of peace. So dear Christian, could this account for your situation? Is he developing in you the qualities of a soldier by shoving you into the heat of the battle? Do you understand that God may take away your comforts and privileges in order to make you a stronger Christian?
We’re trusting God that this continued battle with Leukemia and blood infections is covered under “all things.” What are you struggling with that needs to be surrendered to the God who works good in all things for those who love him? Decide today to trade your struggles for belief that lives out God’s promises.