And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This promise, like many of the New Testament promises to believers, comes with a condition. It doesn’t say, “All things are good for Christians all of the time.” We know that’s not the truth. We lived lives and seen and experienced bad times. The condition is that all things work together for good to those that live God and are called. To those that love, it will all work out to be good.
Loving God and loving others was what Jesus said was the greatest of the commandments. Not the greatest of the suggestions, advisories, or recommendations. God commanded His people to love because in everything, that is the defining factor of our lives as Christians. Everything we do is then influenced by that love.
But, being called according to God’s purpose also plays a factor in this “all good things” plan. It’s not enough to just love God. That should be a given. We need to love God and trust God because He has a plan for our lives. The trusting part is difficult. We like to be in control, to know what’s going on in our lives, and to have the map for tomorrow before us. Trusting God goes against every human instinct, that’s why it’s called faith.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
—2 Corinthians 5:7
In the story where Jacob’s 12 sons have a falling out and Joseph ends up in a pit, sold into slavery, and carried off to Egypt, Joseph wasn’t walking by sight. Not all things were good for Joseph, but God worked them for the good of His purpose and made His purpose Joseph’s purpose. You see? It’s not that all things work together for our good, but that when we love God and trust Him, aligning our lives with His plan and His heart, His purpose becomes our good.
Joseph stayed pure and righteous before God and his Egyptian master and he was persecuted nevertheless. Sometimes it seems like when we are truly trying to serve and wait on God that everything falls apart rather than working together for good. But know that it is never God’s will for you to sin. He cannot sin and will never lead you into sin or tempt you to sin. It’s not God’s will for everything to fall apart in your life because of sin. If all things don’t turn out good for you, continue to trust because God promises that eventually they would work together for good if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.
How can we be sure we are living like we are the called according to God’s purpose? Stay focused on Jesus. Joseph never took His focus off of God. Never cursed God or blamed Him for his circumstances. Even when the promise seemed out of reach. He may have doubted that God even remembered the promise. But he waited on God and continued to live as unto the Lord: trusting even in the trails.
Wait on the Lord.
Choosing the things of God over the things of the world will not guarantee you earthly blessings. But following God and choosing His things will guarantee you that all things will work together for good and according to His purpose.
If you put God first, God won’t let you down. And that’s where we all should be in our waiting process. It’s not about giving God consent to make choices on our behalf, or allowing Him the reigns to take over for a while. Waiting is trusting, like we did the hour we first believed. Waiting on God is all about putting Him first in our lives.
Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
This waiting isn’t just passive, “Be still and know that I am God”, Stuff. Think of it as a waiter or waitress who is employed to attend to the needs of and do the will of the customer. In the same way we are to wait on God; doing what He would have a us do, going where He would have us go.
Let that sink in as you wait on God for things today. Don’t just wait and hope it all works out, continue to serve God and grow closer to Him: He will reveal His plan and purpose in His time.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist