One of the most popular Bible promises to be referenced during times of trouble is Romans 8:28. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but just in case, here it is…
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.
It truly is an amazing promise.
The Coronavirus has created many new challenges for our social structure and individual social habits. Few hardships in my lifetime have affected so many people at so many levels simultaneously. When I look at what is happening (and at what is feared to happen) this promise fertilizes me with hope.
To begin to understand the hope promised in this verse, there are a few words we must look at…
1. “we…who love him” – The promise is specifically made to people who have placed their trust in Christ by receiving the grace offered when Jesus died on the cross for personal sins. The promise is not for everyone. However, those who have not received Christ can benefit from the promise because God’s people are in the world. When God is good to his people, then that frees them to be good to those around them who may not be receiving His grace firsthand. If you have received God’s saving grace, this promise is for you.
2. “in all things God works” – Well, this is pretty inclusive. It means God is engaged in everything we might encounter in life. That includes our current COVID-19 challenge. God “is present” in the present. He is present globally, but he is specifically present in your life. In all of the challenges you are currently facing…God is working there. If you are alone at home…God is working there. If you have lost your job…God is working there. If you are being required to be in public spaces…God is working there. If you are confined with your family…God is working there. If circumstances are altering your future plans…God is working there. You, as a child of God, cannot face a single day in your life without God working there.
3. “for the good” – God is not just working. He is working for your good. Now let me tell you. The good God is working out doesn’t usually come together on the same day that we are going through a struggle. I can’t say that is how it is all the time, but it seems to be that way more often than not. And, the good that we might encounter while going through the struggle never seems to be in proportion to the hardship we are facing. While the struggle is active, the good God provides feels minor in comparison to the ache of the challenge. You have to see God’s promised good like a sprinter approaches training for a race. The sprinter spends hours practicing for his race. Each day he is getting stronger and faster, but no one sees it. In fact, he might have moments when he doubts all the effort. But then one day, he runs the race in the stadium. Everyone is watching. He wins. He then realizes all the trouble he went through was for his good.
4. “who have been called according to his purpose” – This basically means that God’s promised good comes most quickly to those who are fitting in too God’s plan. In other words, are you responding to the hardship the way God has called you to respond? If you’re not, it doesn’t disqualify you from receiving God’s good promise. It just means it may take longer for you to see the fulfillment of the promise in your specific situation. Trust me, I know how challenging that sounds. But either way, whether we are cooperating or not, God has promised good will come…and it will.
Here is what I know, God is working out something good in all of this for you and me. Let’s be found faithful in trusting Him and following Him through this current challenge.
Here is a song I find to be encouraging and fun. May it encourage you.