One of my favorite Bible verses is the all-encompassing Romans 8:28, KJV, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The NIV offers a slightly different translation. It says: “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.” Both versions begin with a strong affirmation, “We know that.” There is no doubt about it. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” It is not the “things” that work together for good, but God who works in all things for the good of those who love Him.
Another favorite text of mine is Philippians 4:4, NIV: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, at times, may go through heart-breaking experiences. Our faithful walk with God and our calling will not necessarily exclude us from suffering physical, emotional, and social pain, sickness, and trials, at home or in the workplace; or from broken relationships with family and strangers, friends and enemies. Through it all, we know and we need to always remember, that God is working for our ultimate good. God is fulfilling His purpose in our lives. There is no doubt about that.
The Shunammite woman in the Old Testament apparently had this abiding conviction. In the middle of gut-wrenching misfortune when her only son, conceived by divine miracle, lay dead at home, she was asked, “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?” She answered with certainty, “Everything is all right,” (2 Kings 4:26, NIV). “It is well” (KJV). This was an answer of hope, rather than reality.
A third favorite text of mine is Psalm 34:1, KJV, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” This psalm was written at a time of great tribulation for David. He was running for his life because Saul was determined to put him to death. David had discovered that, when in danger, it is good to continually praise God. In dire situations, complaining and murmuring may weaken our faith, but praising God and rejoicing in the Lord will strengthen our faith and calm our fears. There are terrible circumstances and times when we’re unable to see how any good can come out of them. Those are the times when we would do well to heed Solomon’s counsel: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”—Proverbs 3:5, 6 (KJV).
Ellen G. White speaks of the time when “the mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”—The Adventist Home, p. 542.
God lovingly working in all things for our good is something that we know for sure and can lean on with confidence. With that enduring conviction, we can always rejoice in the Lord, because we know that, if we love Him, He will intervene in our constantly changing earthly circumstances, knowing “what is for our best good and His own glory” (Gospel Workers, p. 145).
This editorial first appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner magazine, page 3.