When the world and life is recognized as purposeful because God created all things for a purpose, namely for His glory, it transforms ones perspective. Trouble, pain, sadness, unexpected difficulties, disappointment, setbacks of all kinds are seen to be what they really are. While no less painful or difficult to endure, they are tools in the hands of the One who runs the universe and directs history. And what is He up to? Well he tells us exactly what He is up to. "...God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8:28 New American Standard version).
What is the "good" that God promises to work in the text of Romans 8:28? First, it must be noted that this promise only applies to followers of Jesus Christ. Lovers and Followers of Christ (true Christians) are the ones who love God and are called by God to be in His presence (John 14:6). Secondly, the promise states that God causes ALL THINGS to work together for the Christian. Think of that; calamity, tragedy, setbacks, sickness, death, life...everything! So what is the good that God is working for the Christian through ALL of life's circumstances? It is much but here is a glimpse...
1. He enables the Christian to keep the faith and endure all the way to death - this is critical because only those who endure to the end will be saved (1Corinthians 15:2, 1Peter 1:5, Revelation 2:7).
2. He shapes the Christian's character to become more like Christ (James 1:2-4, 1Peter 1:6-7)
3. He enables the Christian to be a blessing to others (2Corinthians 1:3-4, 4:7-17)
4. He enables the Christian to be a praise to His glory (Ephesians 1:3-14)
5. He makes us fitted for heaven to experience more glory and joy than we otherwise could without trouble and suffering here on earth (Romans 8:14-24, 2Corinthians 4:17)
So how can we lose heart! Instead see things with eyes that see, ears that hear and minds that understand the truth of who God is and what He is doing. This is the secret to truly victorious and joyful living. To the Christian, all the bad things of life...are unexpected gifts!
Unbeliever, would you desire to have this kind of abundant, victorious, courageous and meaningful life? Suffering and pain will still be your lot...but with Jesus Christ it means something, it has purpose, it is filled with hope because He redeemed all suffering through His own suffering on the cross. He took the wrath of God for those who would love and embrace Him. He secured an inheritance for all His people that makes the suffering in this life seem like a joke in comparison...this is good and sweet. Come to God through Jesus for there is no other way.