1998-10-05 - Sometimes Things Go As Planned... Other Times... Well
Romans 8:28 We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose.
Several years ago the Exxon Valdez dumped a load of crude oil in Alaska. This led to massive efforts to save the wildlife and restore the ecosystem. It was very expensive. For example, the average cost to save a sea otter was $80,000. Two of the most serious cases of sea otters that were rescued and rehabilitated led to a ceremony and a public celebration upon their release. Apparently a lot of people came to the event. The sea otters were released, swam around for a couple of minutes and were promptly devoured by a killer whale in front of everyone who had attended.
In another case of poor planning a Middle East bomber sent a letter bomb to a target he clearly did not like. He built a fine bomb apparently, but failed to put enough postage on the package. It was returned to him. He opened it.
Sometimes things go wrong. We would all love to live in a utopian society, as long as it is defined by our vision of utopia. But utopian worlds only exist in dreams. Life is hard and sometimes we open our own bombs, while other times, seemingly from no where, a killer whale spoils our party through no fault of our own.
Well, then how can all things work together for good? How can this over-quoted verse we started with give comfort to us when we can look at our lives and say, "It's not all good"?
The answer lies in examining the previous verses a little and avoiding the temptation to rip Romans 8:28 out of its context and simply quote it like a Christian mantra. The two previous verses are speaking about our great privilege of being granted the Spirit to help us and to make intercession for us. It is only because of the ministry of the Spirit to us that Romans 8:28 makes any sense. The Spirits work in us always achieves the desired goal and as we grow into our faith we can say with confidence that all things both work together for good and are working together for good because they are working according to His purpose.
These merciful providences of God are our privilege in Christ. And as His children we can know that, as we follow Him, all things are working together for good.
"God commands us to be filled with the Spirit, and if we are not filled it is because we are living beneath our privileges." D. L. Moody
Soli Deo Gloria,