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 (Romans 8:28 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Now, let me be honest…sometimes I don’t.
When I am going through a dark time of loss or disappointment, and someone throws a sloppy coat of Romans 8:28 on my open wound, I just want to scream.
There. I said it.
Paul wrote: “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” (Romans 8:28 NIV). But what does “all things” mean? I looked it up in my Greek dictionary and guess what it means—it means “all things.” I was hoping for something a little different.
“All things” includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. In every dark circumstance of life, there is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. However, for that to happen, we must get out of the dirt, push it aside, and look beneath the surface.
Is it easy? No.
Is it messy? Usually.
It is worth it? Always.
When my son, Steven, was born, we had no idea we would be raising him as an only child. Years of infertility struggles and the loss of our second child left us with a hollow echo of the heart that we feared would never be filled.
Many years later, I stood at the door of Steven’s bedroom watching this 16-year-old man child sleep. He was a six-foot-long tangle of sheets and limbs. He needed a shave and sported a mass of shaggy thick brown hair. Drool slid down his jaw, and a hairy leg hung off the bed. Loved filled every nook and cranny of my heart till I thought it would burst.
Man, I love this kid, I thought to myself. Then a prayer slipped off my lips.
“Lord,” I prayed, “you know how much I love children, and how I always longed to have a houseful of kids. Why was there just one?”
Then, God’s Word washed over me: For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
“Is that You Lord?” I asked.
Again the words flowed. For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The words washed over me like a spring rain on parched ground. It was a moment of sudden glory. For the first time in my life, I truly grasped the height, the depth, and the breadth of those familiar words.
See, I have a one and only son. There are many people whom I love in this world, but there is no one…no one…that I love enough to sacrifice my one and only son. And yet, God loved me so much He did just that. He loved you so much He did just that. He sacrificed His one and only Son in order to save us from the penalty of sin and give us eternal life.
With tears streaming down my cheeks, I thanked God for helping me truly understand John 3:16—for giving me a living, breathing, walking (and sometimes sleeping) example of His great love. And if that was the only purpose behind the years of infertility and loss of a child, then that was enough.
It was Romans 8:28. It was good.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love for me. Thank You for giving Your Son for me. Open my eyes to see moments of sudden glory where You make Your presence known in my life. I love You so much.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Let’s go back and put Romans 8:28 in context. Read Romans 8:18-39. Why do you think Paul starts 8:28 with the word “And?” What comes before the verse that tethers this thought to it? Starting at verse 31, Paul says, “What, then shall we say in response to this?” List the truths he lists in verses 31-39.
What is one difficult situation that turned out to have a good lesson?
More From the Girlfriends
Many of us have heartache in our lives. Our mistakes, the pain others have caused us, and circumstances outside our control taunt us every day, though we long to turn a new page. When You Don’t Like Your Story challenges us to ask: What if God doesn’t want us to rip out our difficult stories but repurpose them for good?
What has been done to you and what has been done through you doesn’t disqualify you from God’s best for your life. It qualifies you for an even greater purpose than you would have ever known without it. So sink deep into God’s life-changing truths. The next chapter is just beginning. Includes an in-depth Bible study for individuals and groups.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.