Romans 8:28″And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” This was a remarkable statement for the Apostle Paul to make, especially when we consider how much he had suffered because of his love to God and his truth, note what the apostle stated “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved “ (II.Cor.12:15).
He had been imprisoned, he had been stoned, he had been beaten with stripes; and yet, after all this, he is able to say that “all things work together for good to them that love God.”
Some might be in doubt to such a statement with regard to the experience of many Christian. People of all races are born into troubles according to the writing of Job, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job14:1) not just Christians, but the unsaved also suffer.
Yet many others besides Paul have borne similar testimony. David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet never have I seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psa. 37:25). And again, “Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy Word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that might learn thy statutes” Psalm 119:67, 71).
There is good in all the providence of God. Most of us think there is good only in those things that give pleasure or delight to body or mind.
We will admit that there is good in health and prosperity, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,” (Mt.24:38), But we find it hard to see what good there can be in sickness, in adversity, in poverty, or in sorrow.
The apostle takes a wider view of life’s experiences. He holds that ” all things work together for good.” He could appreciate the joys of life, but he felt that there was a wise purpose and blessing in life’s sorrows and trials also.
Our human nature is in itself unholy, alienated from God, easily engrossed by the influences of this present world, and easily led away by temptation and sin “ O wretched man that I am!” (Rom.7:24).
What a proof of the ungodliness of man’s nature afforded by the fact that many are as little affected by the most certain and most important religious truths, which they profess to believe in, as if they did not believe them at all! “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away, “ (II.Tim.3:5).
There are no truths more universally admitted than the existence and moral government of God, the certainty of death and of a future state of rewards and punishments. Yet how many do we see around us whose character and conduct afford almost no evidence that they believe in these truths at all! “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (II.Tim4:4).
How, then, are people to be roused from their indifference? How are they to be led to think seriously of their own souls and that eternity awaits them?Some might be disposed to answer By what we ordinarily call exhibitions of God’s love and goodness.
But we are having presentation of God’s love and goodness supplied to us every day in our daily food, in health and strength, and all the other blessings and comforts which we enjoy.
Yet these, instead of making people think of eternity, seem to make them think more of this present world.
Goodness, instead of leading them to repentance, hardens their hearts. The discipline and awakening of suffering and trial are needed.
These trials, breaking in upon the routine of our daily business and enjoyments, help to withdraw our desires from the things of this perishing world, and to fix them upon a more enduring substance. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col.3:2).
They remind us that this is not our rest; that we are entirely dependent upon a power that is above us for all our happiness and comforts; and that there is indeed a God that judgeth in the earth. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:” (I.Cor.4 :5).
There is nothing more calculated to show our own weakness and our dependence upon a higher Power, and to lead us to reflect seriously upon our future prospects, than to find ourself, in the midst of important and perhaps pressing duties, suddenly laid aside, stretched upon a bed of sickness, anguished, it may be, with pain, and unable to do anything for ourself. In such circumstances we must feel that “it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jer.10:23).
There are many Christians everywhere who, with feelings of deep humility and gratitude, are ready to acknowledge that they never had any serious thought of eternity, that they never knew the power of the love of Christ, and that they were never led to seek him as their Saviour, until the day of adversity made them consider; until they were stripped of their dearest possessions; until they were warned by the sudden death of some one who was dear to them; or until they themselves were laid upon a bed of sickness, and brought nigh unto the gates of death. “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with men, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:29, 30).
And through all the Christian life, how many times we have to thank God for the discipline of trial! Our trials have often proved to be our greatest blessings (Rom. 5:3-6).
WHO ARE THOSE THAT EXPERIENCE THIS GOOD in all God’s providence ? “All things work together for good to them that love God. “ It is not all people, therefore, who are entitled to such a happy way of looking at the events of life.
There are many in whose case everything that God gives them seems to be turned into evil.
Not merely the trials which harden their hearts, but also his blessings which they abuse and are ungrateful for, and the life he gives them, which they misspend. Note what Solomon stated in (Ecc..2:11) “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”
The more they have prospered, the more they have forgotten God. Those things that might be a blessing if rightly used, become their greatest curse. Note what was said to Belshazzar “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (Dan.5:27) “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” (v.30).
Love to God is the character that makes all life happy and blessed. Love to God sweetens every bitter cup, and lightens every heavy burden “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong..” (II.Cor.12:10).
For if we love him, we must know him, we must trust him. That is the threefold cord that binds us unto God, and that keeps us safe in all the changes and circumstances of life.
In order to love God, we must know him and trust him. This knowledge and this trust can only come by the study of God’s Word.
This love can only come from a heart that has experienced the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
The natural man is enmity against God. The garden of Eden became a curse to Adam and Eve “What is this that thou hast done? “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. * Gen.3:13,24).
Cultivate the love of God if you would have light for the dark places of life, if you would have strength for its hours of weakness, and comfort for its hours of trial and sorrow “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (II.Cor.12:10).
Then you will experience that “all things work together for good to them that love God.”