Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, (Romans 8:28)
We, Christians, often recite this favorable verse: “All things work together for good,” especially, when something that we don’t expect happens. By quoting this verse, we get God’s comfort and support each other in God. Yes, this is a really powerful Word. This verse was originally written for the believers in Rome by Apostle Paul as a part of his letter to encourage them, although they actually did not live comfortably in peace because they tried to be true followers of Jesus Christ. This verse is still a strongly encouraging message to us who live in now more than 2000 years after this message was written for the Christians in Rome.
Even though we don’t understand why on earth, it is true that God is always with us no matter what happens in our lives whether it is good, easy or difficult, hard. His mighty hand is always on our shoulder, and He points us to Jesus on the cross, who died for us. Once He includes us in His eternal family, He never forsakes or abandons us because He is faithful to us and dearly loves us. As a mother who has delivered her baby never forgets her precious infant baby, we are precious to God’s eyes. In fact, we are not more qualified or more righteous than others before God, but His one-sided love makes us be His children without our any merits. This is the grace of Our God coming from His mercy and love. Again, we cannot fathom why, but He dearly loves us.
It is also true that with our limited wisdom and knowledge, there is no way to comprehend why something must happen by coming into our lives. When such things are harmless (according to our own sense and understanding), then they don’t draw any of our attention. However, something painful comes into our lives and persists as an unsurmountable obstacle, then it draws all our attention and truly occupies all of us by residing at the center of our heart. Almost without an exception, as the time period prolongs, it escalates our emotional stress by adding worries and frustration in our heart. As a result, our situation is getting worse (again according to the measure of our own sense and understanding). Then it deeply penetrates into our heart and mind. We resist, fight back or avoid it, but our effort is futile. It seems fights back even stronger. How to get out of this viciously condemning hardship in our lives?
The Bible say “All things work together for good.” Our severe suffering is a part of God’s plan to make all things good. How many times have we experience: something painful or a disastrous accident later becomes the most precious to our lives even being our great blessings? Then we start realizing our initial thought and emotional reaction were not correct by being biased to our own knowledge and wisdom, which is significantly limited. We are a mere human living on the surface of the earth. We cannot see even one second future, and we cannot read the hearts of other people. Since the dawn of our human history, none could overcome this human’s fundamental limitation, and this limitation makes us “human.” Due to our cognition limitation, although all of the pieces of information and facts were available, we would never be able to put together to see a complete picture of our lives, both spatially and temporally. What we can know is a just a tiny small portion of our lives. As a result, we can only know a tiny little amount about us. Our “rational” decision, thus, can be hardly rational because we are mere humans. Our God is different. He is Omniscience God, who knows all things from the beginning and the end. He is also the Omnipotent God, who is infinitely more capable than us. Additionally, He is omnipresent, i..e., He is present everywhere. This almighty God loves us, and always wants to give us the best. This is far beyond all our understanding.
When I was a kid, I liked to play with a number puzzle like shown on left. (This is the predecessor of Rubik’s cube.) It is a two-dimension number puzzle, and although it has 16 positions, but it only includes only 15 pieces. Each piece has a unique number. The goal of the game is to arrange all of the numbered pieces (1 through 15) in a proper order as shown in the picture. As you can see, each peace cannot move freely in any direction because there is only one empty slot in the entire game board. Thus, in order to move one piece to a proper location, other pieces have to be rearranged to make the piece to move toward a desired direction. In some sense, all of the pieces are related too. In short, none of them cannot directly move to the destination. It requires a complex series of coordinating moves with its neighbors to reach its destination. During such moves, a player temporarily makes it further away from the desired destination. As a result, no piece cannot take a direct route to its destination. That’s why this is a puzzle for kids. (Yes, Rubik’s cube requires the same kind of thinking, but only more complex because it is a three-dimensional puzzle.)
Let’s think about one creature that lives on one of the pieces of the above number game board. He, the creature, can only see his neighbors and a general direction toward the destination. Let’s make you the guy who actually moves the pieces. Surely you can see the entire game board all the time. You also know where he wants to go. Now you help him by moving him (i.e., moving his piece). You already know that in order to move him to the destination, you need to make a series of moves because there is no direct route. Some of the moves definitely makes him further away from the destination, but such moves are necessary to make him get to the destination. Let’s think in his point of view. He has no control, but rely on you because his ability is truly limited. However, he can generally feel where his piece is moving together. Thus, he feels whether he is getting closer to the destination or now. What would be his feeling, when he noticed that he is pushing away from the destination? Surely, he starts feeling uncomfortable. If the next move makes him getting closer, he will feel better. However, sometimes, you need to move him further away though a series of moves. He would think that you would not cooperate, but pushing him further away from where he wants to god. His frustration starts building g up, and his emotional level even reaches at the level of pain and agony while asking why and doubting your good intention. Without knowing the entire picture, he thinks he is completely drifted away, and he seriously doubt about your promise making him safely and quickly get to the goal. In his mind, he would say nothing logical and rational is happening around him, and he feels completely lost and helpless. Of course, it is not true. Regardless how he thinks, you are diligently moving him to safely arrive at the destination as you has promised.
Of course, we are not the creature on the number game board, but it gives some insight about what God does for us. Today’s Bible verse says: “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” This verse also qualifies two additional aspects: for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. Yes, we have to love God no matter what happens in our lives, which is our faith that He wants. Loving Him also means completely trusting Him, while praising Him for His goodness toward our lives. He diligently guide and move us with His infinitely goodness. Although our physical eyes see that we are moving away from our destiny, what we see is not true. Our loving Father, God always moving us in a right direction through the paths of righteousness. We, limited human beings, simply have no ability to see the true and complete picture. God is different. He always sees the entirety of our life, and constantly guides us so that we can truly become His beloved children. Bible continues:
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstbornn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. (Romans 8:29-30)
Praise God, who dearly loves us and guides us in His Infinitely Good Will! His name will be praised from our own lips. We believe that He is constantly leading us according to His infinite good will with His unfathomable wisdom and knowledge. Let’s put our complete trust on Him because He is worthy to be praised. Life up our eyes and sing praises to Him. Hallelujah! He is the One and Only God, on whom we can put all our complete trust because He is our true and ever-loving Father.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13)