Do Not Fear: God Works All Things Together
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:26-28
God works all things together for good.
This is a phrase we hear quite often when we are experiencing hard times. It has given many people hope. Yet, I’m sure it has also left many people confused. We use this phrase flippantly, and we believe it faithfully, because we know that God is good, and He desires good for His children. The way in which we use the word “good” when we quote this sentence to someone is similar to us telling them, “everything is going to be alright.” Some of this is due to the fact that our culture has taught us this concept of a “happy ending” in which all conflict is resolved, all pain is erased, and all scars no longer exist.
What we don’t always realize is that this can do a disservice to those we are trying to reassure. There are some situations in life in which things don’t turn out “alright.” Many times, a hard situation is met with an even harder end. We are left in pain because of the suffering of a loved one or our own emotional scars and brokenness. Once again, this is the reality of the fallen world we live in. So how then are we supposed to understand this verse if not as a happy, fairy-tale ending to our suffering?
We must first begin to understand that “good” does not always mean “happy.” Instead, we must see “good” through the lens of God, who is Himself good. To be good is to be in God and to have God in us. So when God is working all things together for good, He is sovereign over all, making sure that all things are working for an end that is just, righteous, holy, and good. This idea of being good through being in God and God being in us is exactly what this verse is speaking to when it says that God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to His purpose. As believers, we have been called to be in God, to experience goodness, and to see God working all things together for His glory, and for an end which is truly just, righteous, holy, and good.
This passage also speaks to the times in which things aren’t always “alright.” There will be moments in which we are so weak that we don’t even know what to pray. It is in those moments that the Spirit of God is interceding for us and speaking on our behalf. He is working all things together for an end that is good, continuing to mold us more and more into the likeness of Jesus, even when things are the furthest from being “alright.”
One of the greatest examples of this idea is in the death of Christ. I cannot imagine something further away from “alright” than the crucifixion of the Son of God. Yet, its purpose was the greatest good that can be imagined. We cannot only focus on the victory and future good of Christ’s return without also acknowledging the brokenness and death that led to that victorious good.
In the same way, we are not called to forget or ignore our brokenness and pain. God, as our Father, is pained when His children are in pain. We must clearly see both the death and the victory of Christ. So, on the days in which we may cry out to Him from a place of deep hurt, we are assured, not that everything will be “alright”, but that He is Good. Some days, that is all we need.