About a month ago, I asked myself the question, “Had Romans 8:28 never been mentioned or recorded, how much of a difference would it have made?”
The story of Job is one that many of us relate to when, in fact, none of us can really say we understand it. Here’s a man who had the reputation of being righteous and that there was no one like him in all the land. God allows this same man to pass through terrible years. He goes from being a wealthy man to having nothing, from having ten children to having none, and from being healthy to, well, being covered in unbearable pain. He gets no comfort from friends, we’ve all been there and we’ve all been those friends too, and although he does his best to understand his situation, he just could not make sense of it.
When God finally speaks to Job, what he receives is not a direct answer or justification for what he is going through. Let’s be honest, had we been Job’s friends we would have slapped him with Romans 8:28 without thinking twice. Even God didn’t slap Job with Romans 8:28. The reason why, I believe, is because Romans 8:28 is not a justification for when things go wrong. Romans 8:28 is just a fact. I don’t bear my pain more just because God works for my good. I don’t accept my predicament more just because God works for my good. God’s ultimate question to Job was, “Who are you, and who am I, Job?”
You see, Romans 8:28 is great but it’s not meant to be the reason behind my obedience, my commitment, my faithfulness to the God of the universe. If I ask you to tell me what Romans 8:26 and 27 say, would you be able to recite them? What about Romans 8:29 and 30? Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined…these whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Are we living that glorified life? Are we living that justified life? Are we living the life that we are called to? The life we were predestined to live? No, see, I just care that God works for my good. Otherwise, you know, He’ll have to answer for these things I don’t like about my life.
We have all become lawyers with our use of Romans 8:28. “God works for my good, that’s what it says here; I’m keeping my mouth shut just because of that. If I find out it isn’t true…”
Had Romans 8:28 never been mentioned or recorded, how much of a difference would it have made? I had to conclude, no difference at all. What God allows, He has the right to allow. What God withholds, He has the right to withhold. Knowing that He does that for my good is my privilege, not my anchorage.
So, I pose that challenge to you. Had there never been a verse written that said, “And 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”, how much of a difference would it have made in your life? In your struggles? In your pain? Will you, like Job, be willing to go beyond the hearing of the ear, to where your heart sees Him and accepts His will?