Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good?
Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good?
And we know that all things
work together for good
to them that love God
Rom 8:28 (KJV)
A promise only for those who love God. The good is conformity to
Christ (v. 29). [Ryrie SB]
The sovereign God works through all things to bring good to His
people. [Disciple SB]
Do all bad events have a good purpose? No. There are three
important qualifications to notice: (1) It is in all things - some good,
some bad - that God can be at work. God can redeem things intended
for evil, transforming them into good (see, for example, Gen.
50:20). (2) This promise is for those who love him. Those who are yet in
rebellion cannot depend on everything achieving something good in their
lives. (3) The good God desires to work is a spiritual, eternal work -
preparing us for future glory. [Quest SB]
This verse does not say that everything that happens is good.
God is a faithful heavenly Father who, because He is both omniscient
and omnipotent, is able to cause even unfortunate happenings to work
for good to those who love the Lord. [Believer's SB]
The verse doesn't say that everything that happens to us is
good. There's far too much pain in the world for that to be true. What
Paul said was that God is at work in all things. He redeems even our
suffering, using it to do us good. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
God never promises that we will like the "all things" that
happen in our lives. But He does promise that, in His supervision, God
will permit nothing to touch those who love Him that cannot be
beneficial or useful in their lives. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]
Either directly or indirectly, every providence has a tendency
to the spiritual good of those that love God, breaking them off
from sin, bringing them nearer to God, weaning them from the world,
fitting them for heaven. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
God works in "all things"--not just isolated incidents--for our
good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is
prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance
around for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us
happy, but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not
for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are
called according to his purpose. Those who are "called" are those the
Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have
a new perspective, a new mind-set on life. They trust in God, not
life's treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth;
they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is
with them. [Life Application SB]
Without trial we should not feel so much our need of God and His
help; and we should become proud and self-sufficient. 8T123,4
The Lord designs that His people shall be happy, and He opens
before us one source of consolation after another, that we may be
filled with joy and peace in the midst of our present experience. We
are not to wait until we shall get into heaven for brightness and
comfort and joy. We are to have them right here in this life. . . . We
miss very much because we do not grasp the blessings that may be ours
in our afflictions. All our sufferings and sorrows, all our
temptations and trials, all our sadness and griefs, all our persecutions and
privations, and in short all things, work together for our good. . . . All
experiences and circumstances are God's workmen whereby good is brought to
us. Let us look at the light behind the cloud. Our happiness comes
not from what is around us, but from what is within us; not from
what we have, but from what we are. ML185
Nothing can touch the Christian except by our Lord's permission
(see Job 1:12; 2:6), and all things that are permitted work together
for good to those who love God. If God permits suffering and
perplexity to come upon us, it is not to destroy us but to refine and
sanctify us (see on Rom. 8:17). The troubles and disappointments of this
life take our affections from the world and lead us to look to heaven
for our home. They teach us the truth about our frail and dying
condition and cause us to rely upon God for support and for salvation.
They also produce in us a more humble and subdued spirit, a more
patient and tender disposition. This has been the experience of God's
people throughout history, and at the end of their lives they have been
able to say that it was good for them to have been so afflicted. [SDA
It is reassuring to know that God is allpowerful, that nothing
touches my life without His permission. Things happen to me that I
cannot understand, but I never doubt God's love. In the hour of trial
I may not be able to see His design, but I am confident it must be
in line with His purpose.
People in the midst of suffering often quote Romans 8:28.
Christians look at the circumstances and say, "How can this possibly work
together for my good?" We cannot answer that. Only God can make it work
for good, and He cannot do it unless we cooperate with Him. In all
our praying we must ask that His will be done. by Billy Graham
[Passages Of Life SB]
It is better we should not know our future. If we did, we
should often spoil God's plan for our life. If we could see into
tomorrow and know the troubles it will bring, we might be tempted to seek
some way of avoiding them, while really they are God's way to new
honor and blessing. God's thoughts for us are always thoughts of
love, good, promotion; but sometimes the path to the hilltop lies
through dark valleys or up rough paths. Yet to miss the hard bit of
road is to fail of gaining the lofty height. It is better,
therefore, to walk, not knowing, with God, than it would be to see the way
and choose for ourselves. God's way for us is always better than
our own. [J. R. Miller; Time with God devotional SB]
Dear child of God, just imagine that triumphal march! Picture
the excited children being constantly hushed and restrained by their
parents from their outbursts of wonder. Think how the women must have
experienced an uncontrollable excitement as they found themselves suddenly
saved from a fate worse than death. Imagine how the men who
accompanied them must have felt ashamed and admonished for mistrusting God
and for complaining against Moses. And as you envision the Red Sea's
mighty walls of water, separated by the outstretched hand of the
Eternal in response to the faith of a single man, learn what God will do
for His own. . . . Dare to trust Him! Dare to follow Him! Then
discover that the forces that blocked your progress and threatened your
life become at His command the very, materials He uses to build your
street of freedom. F. B. Meyer [Streams in the Desert by Cowman]
Everything in your life can be used as a part of my plan for
good. Yes, even the bad things. Even the very situation that you
think is intolerable or hopeless or unredeemable. Trust me. This
thing, too, will work together for your good and my glory.
How is that possible? It is possible because you love me,
because you have been called to walk in my ways, and you have answered
yes to that call. Even now I am in the process of drawing good from
the bad. I am committed to taking whatever evil comes into your
life and bringing good out of it.
All things will work together for good. Not just some, but all.
Even your own failures and faults and areas of sin are
opportunities for me to work. Commit them to me. Confess them. Put them
under the blood of my Son. Even these things will give you cause to
praise me. Trust me in this. God [Postcards from Heaven]
Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although
poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse.
Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been
seen before - such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.
People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man
always refused. "This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them.
"It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend,
not a possession. How could you sell a friend?" The man was poor
and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.
One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All
the village came to see him. "You old fool," they scoffed, "we told
you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you
would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect
such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him.
You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would
have been to high. Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed
The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly. Say only that
the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest in
judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you
The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! We may
not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple
fact that your horse is gone is a curse."
The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is
empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don't know. Whether it be a
curse or a blessing, I can't say. All we can see is a fragment. Who
can say what will come next?"
The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man
was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he
would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he
was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and
dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in
the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a
After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn't been stolen;
he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had
brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people
gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right and
we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please
The man responded, "Once again, you go too far. Say only that
the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with
him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not?
You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, now can
you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the
whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand
the entire phrase?
"Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one
word. All you have is a fragment! Don't say that this is a blessing.
No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not
perturbed by what I don't."
"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another. So they
said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it
was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse.
With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained
and sold for much money.
The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to
break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the
horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around
the old man and cast their judgments.
"You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The
dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son
has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help
you. Now you are poorer than ever.
The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging.
Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who
knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a
fragment. Life comes in fragments."
It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war
against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were
required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded,
because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old
man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There
was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong and
the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons
"You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows you were
right. This proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs
may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone
The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you.
You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your
sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a
blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows."
[In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado.]
If God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the
kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it. [Morning and
Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon]
The Cross of Christ was the greatest evil that God turned into
the greatest good of all time. [Pastor Mark Finley]
God is for us and not against us. The proof is that He gave His
very best on the cross. Surely He will freely give us anything else
we need. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
Hope is defined as faith that all circumstances work to deepen
our relationship with Christ and reconfirm our salvation. [Disciple
Pierce Richman had been a Christian about six months before the
What problems? "Well, I lost my job," Pierce recalls. "Then the
transmission on my car went out, and I had no money to repair it. But that
wasn't the real problem. My girlfriend broke up with me. I really
wanted to marry this girl, but she said I wasn't what she wanted in a
husband. That really hurt."
About that time Pierce's old desires began to well up. Before he
had become a Christian at age eighteen, he had lived a loose
lifestyle, filled with drinking and taking drugs and sleeping with
"I came to Christ to get away from all that," he recalls. "But
when all these problems started, I began to feel really insecure. It
was all I could do not to go out and get drunk or call up one of my
old girlfriends. I felt gross inside. I began to wonder whether I
was really a Christians."
But Pierce didn't go back to his old lifestyle. Even though he
didn't understand why all these things were happening to him, he knew
God was in control. So he waited.
"Things didn't get better right away," Pierce says, "but I knew
I had made the right decision. And that helped me believe even
more that if I was patient, God would come through for me. And he
Pierce and his girlfriend got back together, and he got a new
job - better than the other one. Now Pierce knows the value of
obeying God even when you don't know what God is doing.
Pierce leamed that becoming like Christ takes patience. Paul
talked about how all creation is waiting patiently for us to become
like Christ. Read why in Romans 8:22-30.
How does Pierce demonstrate the patience the passage describes?
According to the passage, what is God's ultimate purpose for you?
Why do you need patience to wait for his purpose to be
fulfilled? [Youth SB]
A boy once said to God, I've been thinking, and I know what I
want when I become a man." He proceeded to give God his list: to live
in a big house with two Saint Bernards and a garden; marry a
blue-eyed, tall, beautiful woman; have three sons--one who will be a
senator, one a scientist, and one a quarterback. He also wanted to be an
adventurer who climbed tall mountains and to drive a red Ferrari.
As it turned out, the boy hurt his knee one day while playing
football. He could no longer climb trees, much less mountains. He married
a beautiful and kind woman, who was short and had brown eyes.
Because of his business, he lived in a city apartment, took cabs, and
rode subways. He had three loving daughters, and they adopted a
fluffy cat. One daughter became a nurse, another an artist, and the
third a music teacher.
One morning the man awoke and remembered his boyhood dream. He
became extremely depressed, so depressed that he became very ill. Close
to death from a broken heart, he called out to God, "Remember when
I was a boy and told You all the things I wanted? Why didn't You
give me those things?"
"I could have," said God, "but I wanted to make you happy."
Remember, God wants the best for us. Trust Him with your whole
heart--He's the original heart surgeon. [God's Little Devotional Bible]
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a
wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay
in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a space
in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor,
the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the
younger angel asked why, the older angel replied..."Things aren't always
what they seem".
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very
poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what
little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed
where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the
next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears.
Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel "how
could you have let this happen!? The first man had everything, yet
you helped him," he accused. "The second family had little but was
willing to share everything, and you let their cow die." "Things aren't
always what they seem," the older angel replied. "When we stayed in
the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that
hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and
unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find
it. Then last night as we slept in the farmers bed, the angel of
death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead.
Things aren't always what they seem." Sometimes this is exactly
what happens when things don't turn out the way they should. If you
have faith, you just need to trust that every outcome is always to
your advantage. You might not know it until some time later. [source