"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good"
- Romans 8:28
There is nothing that's not included in the "all things".
All things include sickness, losses, hurt, changes, pain, difficulties, challenges, financial issues, ministry issues, unmet expectations, unmet dreams, government decisions, surprises, disappointments, isolation, etc. etc..
Pretty bold statement. Sometimes I have a hard time to practically believe and live this passage. I say that God is good and He wants good for me, but sometimes when stones and huge rocks blocks my journey, it's hard to believe it and feel it.
Loving God means that we trust a God who wants good for us. We need to believe that God is good and God wants good for those who love Him. Who would want to follow a God who doesn't want good for his followers? That would not make sense! We follow a good God who wants good for us.
But this promise doesn't include 3 things that we automatically mean and believe when we hear this promise.
- What is good? This promise doesn't give us the authority to define what's good. God defines good for us. We don't know what is good for us. Those who love God have to trust God to define "good" for them. It's better for God to define what is good because He is good and we are not. How could fallen, sinful, finite, selfish creatures define what is good better then the holy, loving, perfect, good, self-sacrificing God? Why do we have such a hard time to trust in God's hand what is good for us?
- When it's good? This promise doesn't give us the authority to set the timing and define when this should work out for good. Those who love God have to turn over timing in their life. They don't control when things should happen in their life. God controls timing in their life. Who is better to define timing: us, who are limited by space, time and understanding or God who lives above space, time and is able to put into consideration everything? Isn't make more sense to trust him than us?
- How it's good? This promise doesn't give us the authority to define how this will be worked out for our good. Those who love God have to trust how God will accomplish this good. God controls the means. Who has more power, ways, means, resources to do those good for us: God or us?
So why do we try so hard to limit God's goodness to us by demanding and dictating what good he should do, when he should it and how he should it? We are our own enemies if we try to limit the goodnes of God by distrusting his ways, timing and means.
Loving God (beside of being obedient to Him) means that we turn over the control of what, when and how he works out things for our good. This promise is only true for such lovers of God.
We believe this theoretically, but when things starts to fall out of our control we have a hard time to trust and believe that God's definition, timing and means of good will happen through the challenges we are in and this is his will for our good!