Broadcasting now. Watch Live.
All Things 1

God's Goodness in All Things


This article was originally published in April 2020.

Two of God’s promises have been much on my mind lately because both promises include the words “all things”.

First, Romans 8:28, “For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”; and also Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him [Christ] who strengthens me.”

ALL THINGS

Romans 8:28 is not complicated. It’s not difficult to understand: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It is completely comprehensive. So, why do we not find complete comfort? Why do we still worry, fear, or doubt? Why are we still discontent?

Often, we fail to relate this promise to the details of everyday life. We simply forget to apply God’s promise to this day and to these circumstances. We’re so caught up in responsibilities, problems, and distractions we don’t even consider bringing every situation in to the light of this promise that God is working in every detail to use it for our good.

So stop right now. Think about this day. Ask yourself, “What about this?” This trial, this disappointment, this rejection, this illness, this catastrophe, this pandemic; with all its massive changes and ramifications? Think about every circumstance in your life.

ALL things? Really?

Really! Paul, under inspiration, tells us plainly that God causes ALL THINGS to work together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes.

It’s staggering, really. No exceptions.

GOD’S LOVE

How can this be true?

It’s true because God Himself is behind every single detail. The God who created the world and is sustaining it every moment… The God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, loving, kind, gracious… That God!

That God promises He is actively at work causing every thing to work together for the good of everyone who is His own!

He doesn’t promise we’ll always see it. He doesn’t promise we'll understand it all now. In fact, this promise is for the long haul. It’s a promise that He is using all things to conform those He foreknew and predestined into the image of His Son. And in His great eternal plan He is using all these things to bring glory to Himself.

Sometimes we fail to apply this promise to the details of our lives. Sometimes we fail to remember Who makes this promise.

And, sadly, sometimes we simply doubt. We respond in fear and worry, instead of in faith in our loving Father.

Two years ago I heard a masterful message by H.B. Charles on Proverbs 3:5-6. He said that the trust we should have in God should be like “reverse paranoia.” Instead of being afraid someone is out to get us, we can be absolutely convinced that God is out to do us good!

Sometimes, it’s not that we disbelieve God is working all things for good, it’s that we fear there will be pain and discomfort in the process. C.S. Lewis, in his inimitable way, wrote, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us: we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” That’s why it’s so important to remind ourselves of the character of our loving Father.

And that’s exactly what Paul emphasizes next in Romans 8. He reminds us that God is for us and that absolutely nothing will separate us from His love. No one and nothing! Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with him freely give us (wait for it…) all things?”

Here’s how much God loves His own — “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39).

God’s love directs and overshadows every detail of our lives.

All things are covered in His promise that He is working for our good. And that is based on His unfailing love for us.

GOD’S STRENGTH

But how should these truths affect how we live moment by moment? Knowing God’s powerful and loving direction over every detail gives us great comfort. But we also need strength! Strength to live out each day in obedience, joy, and contentment.

That brings us to the other promise. In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul tells the Philippians, and us, the secret to contentment in any circumstance; whether humble means or prosperity, being filled or going hungry, having abundance or suffering need. And then he adds, “In any and every circumstance.” (You gotta love the comprehensiveness!)

He promises to give us the strength to handle whatever He brings. Here’s the secret: “I can do all things through Him [Christ] who strengthens me.”

We have no power in ourselves. We have no strength. Trusting and obeying God in the circumstances of life will never come from mere determination and will-power. It can only come from Christ Himself. The MacArthur Study Bible explains that Christ will “put power in” us: “Because believers are in Christ (Gal.2:20), He infuses them with His strength to sustain them until they receive some provision (Eph. 3:16-20; 2 Cor. 12:10).”

Over the last couple weeks we have experienced things we never dreamed we would experience. Pandemic? It’s covered. It’s an “all thing.” The immense changes in our every-day lives? Covered. They’re all things.” Being stuck at home? Separated from those we love? Kept from the activities we love? Plans changed—some insignificant, some devastating. Businesses suffering. Economy crashing. Many sick. The future unknown.

But even when life returns to some semblance of normal, even in the details of a rather boring, mundane day (doesn’t that sound nice?) God will still be working all things for good.

These promises have no exception clauses. No fine print.

Things are changing by the minute, it seems, even as I write this. I have no idea what other changes will have occurred by the time you read this. But I do know this — every single detail will be “an all thing.” All of it. Covered.

THIS, whatever it is, is an “ALL THING”!