You are more important to God and to the universe than you can possibly know. God has so constituted you in Christ that the whole cosmos stands on tiptoe waiting for your true glory to be unveiled. When that mighty revelation day comes — when that veil that hides your glory as a child of God is ripped away—when heaven’s vaults pour upon you such joy you’ll need a renovated body to contain it—on that day—glorification day for you, is liberation day for the cosmos.
Please, get this, please let this into your heart. Glorification day for you, is liberation day for the cosmos.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21, NKJV).

What is this telling us? It is telling us, there is a coming really really really big day for the whole cosmos.
On that day, everything that’s wrong with the world will be fixed, all the bad mechanisms will be switched off forever.
On that really big day, the curse that bends everything downward will be lifted.
For the first time since the beginning, all will be as it should be.
Whatever else this verse is telling us, it is saying that everything that happens — everything that happens in the world, everything that happens in your life, everything that happens in history, everything that happens in the economy — everything is being used by God and shepherded by God to maximize both the glory that goes to God, and the grace that goes to you. On that day.
That is the goal.
That is where everything is headed.
That is the end point.
That is the target God has in view as he works in this currently messed up cosmos.
Every flickering quark in the far off the universe. Every wiggling bug in the bottom of the sea. Every electron in its orbit. Every Angel, every demon, every person, every place, everything, every believer, every unbeliever, every act of good, every act of evil… will bow at the feet of King Jesus and receive a proper disposition for all eternity.

God has a plan.
God has a beautiful majestic breathtaking plan.
Your whole life exists within this plan, good things and bad things alike exist within this plan.
God is shepherding everything toward this really big day, the day of your glorification.
The day the pain machine goes to hell.
That’s a good day, don’t you think? God knows what he’s doing, don’t you think?
So what does this say for you? Here’s our key verse for today.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

There’s the best news of all. There’s one of the best verses in the whole Bible. One old timer called this verse, “A soft pillow for a tired heart” (R.A. Torrey in Wm. R. Newell, Romans).

There was an old preacher who kept a bookmark in his Bible. It was made of woven silk, and it had a motto on one side. The back of it was a tangled web of crossed threads that seemed to be without purpose or reason.
Whenever he talked with a person who was in pain — or sorrow, or trouble, or sickness or death — he’d give that person the bookmark with the tangled side up. It was unintelligible. Just a tangle of disorder and chaos.
When the person registered enough confusion, the preacher turned the bookmark over. Immediately, against the white silk background, thee was the phrase, in colored threads, “God is love.” [adapted from Donald Gray Barnhouse, on Romans.]
And all those tangled threads, viewed from beneath, meant nothing.
But when viewed from above, the tangle itself became the necessary means by which the love of God was spelled.
Not one thread was wasted. Was meaningless. Was gratuitous. Was unplanned or accidental.
Let me state the lesson in one sentence:

God always sets you at the convergence of his highest glory, and your highest good.

This is rarely a place you would choose for yourself. In fact, you would probably pray against it.

You have prayed against it. Ask Joseph. Ask Job. Ask Esther. Ask Ruth.
Ask Jesus.
This is the wisdom of God.
God always sets you at the convergence of his highest glory and your highest good, even when it doesn’t feel like it, look like it, smell like it, or act like it. That’s the best news of all, don’t you think?
In the great plan of God, all things work together for good.

All things…

Bad things, good things, random things, painful things, happy things, sad things, all things. Nothing is omitted. Nothing is missed.
Nothing is random in this universe. But everything has a place, a reason, a purpose. All those tangled threads mean something.
The devil is all about chaos. The devil is all about things that don’t make sense and don’t go together.
But whatever the devil is doing, God is coming in immediately and reworking, and re-swizzling, everything to bring about something good.
Your struggles and your joys are interconnected. It all means something.
All things… means all things…
Just because it doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean God can’t bring sense out of it in the end.
God is weaving into a tapestry so beautiful, that when you see it from the top side, you wouldn’t change a thing.

All things work together…

I want to get a little grammatical with you today.
Because the way our verse reads in the New King James Bible says, all things work together for good.
There is a subject of the sentence. There is a main verb of the sentence.
The subject is things, all things. The verb is work together. This is one word in Greek two words in English. We get the word synergy from this word.Let me read the first phrase in three different versions:

NKJV: “All things work together for good to those who love God.”
NASB: “God causes all things to work together for good.”
NIV: “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Did you catch the difference there? The active agent isn’t things, the active agent is God.
It is partly a question of the ancient Greek text and partly a question of grammar. There is nothing wrong with the NKJV translation, but the other translations bring out a proper emphasis. God works all things together for good…
Let me put it this way: We will never properly understand this verse, or our lives, as long as we put God at the end and not at the beginning of our thinking when life is hard.
Bitterness and anger and vengeance and despair and hatred are signs that God is still left out of our thinking.
God causes all things to work together…

for good…

Is Scripture saying that sickness and suffering are good? No.
Is Scripture saying that the bad things that happen in your life are good? No.
Is Scripture saying that evil is good? Sin is good? Sicknesses good? No, no, no.
Scripture is saying that in all these things. In spite of and through, and because of all these things…
God has the power and the wisdom
There is a powerful story almost 4,000 years old of a man named Joseph. At the end of his story, he saved the world from starvation, and showed countless idol worshippers the truth of the one invisible Creator God.
Ask Joseph how he came to be in such a place as that…

  • He had a dream… which made his brothers hate him.
  • But they had to hate him so they would plot to kill him…
  • But they had to plot to kill so one brother would talk the rest into selling him to random slave traders.
  • But he had to be sold to slave traders so he could be brought to Egypt.
  • And he had to be brought to Egypt so he could be bought by a guard named Potiphar.
  • And he had to go to Potiphar’s house because Mrs Potiphar kept coming after him. But he said no…
  • And he had to say no so she would frame him, falsely accusing him of assault.
  • And she had to falsely accuse him so he would be thrown in prison through no fault of his own.
  • And he had to be in prison so he could meet the Pharaoh’s butler, who happened to have a dream.
  • And he had to have a dream because Joseph was good at that, and he interpreted the dream… and asked the butler to ask the Pharaoh to get him out of that prison! But the butler forgot about him.
  • But he had to forget so Joseph would still be in prison when Pharaoh had his crazy dream…
  • And guess what… out comes Joseph, Master and Commander of the whole known world.

If you asked Joseph, how he came to save the world… he would just shake his head and say it was a very long story. Disconnected events were actually connected in a chain of providence too good to be true. And at the end of his days, Joseph said:

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Genesis 50:20, NKJV).

No matter what people were doing, no matter what the stars were doing, no matter what the weather or economy or bad guys were doing. It was all connected by the bedrock reality that God meant it for good.
And that is all you need to know.
And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose.
I apply this promise to every single child of God. If he had just said ‘to those who love God,’ we might say it is for mature believers, who are faithfully following God alone.
But he qualifies it, and he says, “to those who are the called according to his purpose…”
The reason you are a Christian, if you are a Christian, is because God called you to come to Christ, and you did. You are the called according to his purpose, and he has called the whole world to come to Christ.
Has there ever been a better promise than this?

I want to ask a question, and then I want to point out one more thing in this first.
My question is,

When does the “good” happen?

In other words, as God is mashing all these things together for good, at what point in the timeline of my existence do I actually get to see the good? When do I get my aha moment?
For Joseph, it took decades. And so it is with many of us.
But here’s a deeper question.
What if that good thing that we are waiting for doesn’t happen until after we die?
What if we ourselves never live to see the good… that good outcome that God is planning? What if we don’t get to see it?
Moses didn’t live to see the good of the Jews finally dwelling in the promised land.
Daniel didn’t live to see the good of his people returning from exile.
Jesus didn’t live to see the good of a little kid in a Chicago Sunday school believing and being saved and becoming a pastor.
I think every one of us has to wrestle with this, and decide whether or not we’ll be okay with it.
The simple fact is that God’s plans stretch far beyond our limited temporal horizons. We see our lifespan and not much beyond it. But God sees from eternity to eternity.
Are you okay with some of the difficulty in your life today, knowing that God will use it to bring about wonderful blessings for someone, somewhere down the line—potentially even after your life on Earth has ended?
Will you be okay with that? This is a very mature position for a child of God.
Job said, though he slay me yet will I trust him.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

To help you cement this into your soul, I have something cool to give you… I’ll tell you about it the announcements at the end.
Romans 8:28 is the best news in the world. It begins “and we know…” And here’s what I want you to know as I wrap it up.
Romans 8:28 is true whether you know it or not.
It is true, whether you feel it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you experience it or not, whether you claim it or not, whether you live in it or not, whether you rest your heart in it or not.
Romans 8:28 is true whether you know it or not.
Life is just a whole lot easier when you know it…
And we know…
I hope and pray you know…
I hope and pray you know this, because if you do something happens.
Yes, glorification Day is coming. Yes, Jesus is coming again. All of that is true and there is a future unveiling of your true and deepest glory.
But every time in the midst of darkness you keep faith in the God who works all things together for good… That moment of faith, becomes a piercing light of glory in the spiritual realm. It is so bright that it blinds the demons and makes the angels raise cheer.
Every moment of faith inside this broken pain machine is a blazing flash of the glory which is your truest destiny.

I read a story about a shipwreck. When the sole survivor reached a small, uninhabited island, he prayed for God to rescue him, but help didn’t come. Eventually he built a hut out of driftwood for protection from the elements. One day he returned from scavenging for food and found his hut in flames, the smoke rising into the sky. Angrily he cried,
“God, how could You do this to me?”
The next morning he was awakened by rescuers.
“How did you know I was here?” he asked.
“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

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