“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” (Romans 8:28)
Life can be so uncertain. Just when we expect one thing to happen, something else completely takes us off guard and in another direction.
It can seem like a good movie with an unexpected twist at the end. Only in the movies, it’s entertaining; while in real life, in your life, it can be scary, painful, or even tragic. Of course, life’s uncertainty can sometimes turn out pleasant, or even exciting. The “spice of life” some would call it. But it seems more and more we see things taking a turn for the worse.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have something certain in these uncertain times? Some sort of guarantee that things will be ok? I just saw a commercial for a company called “E-ssurance.” What about “A-surrance”; some blessed assurance?
Let’s break down Romans 8:28 and see if we can find some.
“And we know”; five times in the Book of Romans, Paul stands upon the assurance of “we know.” He says we know, not we think, or we hope, or we speculate; but we know, we have no doubt, we are sure. Sure of what?
“That all things”; that is all inclusive. It is our assurance that there are no limits. God is saying that He wants us to know right now that all of history, including the portion constituting your life, is completely under His control. Every aspect of your life is known and controlled by God. “And we know that all things” do what?
“Work together”; this shows complexity. This expression comes from the Greek word, “sunergeō”; from which we get our English word “synergism.” Synergism means the working together of various elements to produce an effect greater than, and often completely different from, the sum of each element’s action separately. Consider salt. Salt is made up of sodium and chlorine; both of which can be poisonous on their own at certain levels. But together they form a common household seasoning; something that is used as a preserver, or as an enhancement to flavor. All of creation is an example of this synergism. Everything works so intricately together, that if you remove one part from the equation, it can drastically affect the other parts.
Consider a machine in a factory. Annie Johnson Flint wrote:
“In a factory building, there are wheels and gearings,
There are cranks and pulleys, beltings tight or slack –
Some are whirling swiftly, some are turning slowly,
Some are thrusting forward, some are pulling back;
Some are smooth and silent, some are rough and noisy,
Pounding, rattling, clanking, moving with a jerk;
In a wild confusion, in a seeming chaos,
Lifting pushing, driving – but they do their work.
From the mightiest lever to the tiniest pinion,
All things move together for the purpose planned;
And behind the working is a mind controlling,
And a force directing, and a guiding hand.
So all things are working for the Lord’s beloved;
Some things might be hurtful if alone they stood;
Some might seem to hinder; some might draw us backward;
But they work together, and they work for good,
All the thwarted longings, all the stern denials,
All the contradictions, hard to understand,
And the force that holds them, speeds them, and retards them,
Stops and starts and guides them – it is our Father’s hand.”
So “we know that all things work together.” But for what?
“For good”; that’s where our comfort comes from. God has given assurance that everything that happens in life, no matter what it is, works together for good, not evil. It may seem terrifying or tragic at the time, isolated from the finished product or big picture. But ultimately it works out for good.
But does this assurance apply to everyone? Sadly, no. It is only “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” It is conditional. Everything so far has been absolute, or definite. We absolutely know that absolutely all things work absolutely together for absolute good. However, Romans 8:28 does not apply to absolutely everybody.
If we love God, this verse is to us.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
But if we reject or hate God and His Ways, then Romans 8:28 might as well read, “And we know that all things work together for bad or evil to them that hate or reject God, to them who are rebellious against His purpose.”
So if life seems chaotic, uncertain, troubling, or discouraging, and you are a Child of God; you can have blessed assurance that:
“…If God be for us, who (or what) can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
“Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” (2 Corinthians 4:9)
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)
Be assured. Joy is coming. God guarantees it.