Everything works for the good? – 24 October 2022
By Ewald Schmidt
This is probably one of the most quoted verses from the Bible that we use, when we try to encourage one another in difficult times. Sometimes, it may be seen as a cheap answer to a complex problem. I have also been at the receiving end of this verse, in times when it did not make any sense to me. At the end of my own high school career, I lost a younger sister to cancer. I had an uncle, who was a spiritual mentor to me, who was murdered by someone he was trying to help. I have seen the dark side; I am not unique in this experience. Each one of us can testify to the ups and downs of life, and times that we do not understand in our life’s journey. Even today, I cannot truly say that I understand how God works every bad experience for my good.
Romans 8:28 does not stand alone. Paul said in the previous verses that we would experience difficult times, where it could be even hard to pray. The Holy Spirit helps us and he takes the unsaid prayers of our hearts to the throne of our Father. The Holy Spirit prays that we will endure and conquer the challenges along the way, more so in times when we are not able to see the bigger picture.
What is the bigger picture painted for us in Romans 8? We are renewed in Christ. By faith, we have become God’s children. We journey with him on the path of life. The Spirit leads us on this journey. Even so, we still experience challenges along the way.
Why does God allow suffering? There are no easy answers and cheap explanations cause more hurt than comfort. In the midst of crisis, we cannot see any good in suffering. No one would choose difficult times for themselves; we would always go for prosperity. However, life is a journey and, sometimes, the path goes through the desert and dark places.
In the dark places, it is so important to remember who we are. I am called by God. I am his child. I love him and I am walking my path with him. He has a purpose for my life and it is unfolding every day. The promise of hope is that my journey will not end in the desert or dark place. It will unfold until I reach my destination at my Father’s throne. Today may contain suffering, but my future is to be with Christ in glory. Therefore, I endure, walking this journey step by step with God, until I reach the other side of the suffering and pain. When I look back, I already see some sense in the suffering of the past and how God has carried me through it all. If suffering brought me closer to God, or made me more aware of someone else’s pain, then there was good in it.
Prayer: Lord, this journey of life is not easy. There are many things happening around me that I do not understand. I can only trust and believe that you are with me, guiding me and helping me to endure. Help me to cling to your promises of hope. Use even the bad experiences to your glory. Amen