This past week, I was listening to a message online in which the speaker (Kris Vallotton) made a very profound statement based on Romans 8:28. He said “If it isn’t good, then the story is not over yet”. What a profound thought! Many times, when we look at this verse in Romans, we think primarily of the good things and associate them to God’s eternal plan. But what about the bad things? Can God use those for our own good as well? Yes! The verse does not say that He uses only good things, but ALL things. This includes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, the promise is the same. It will all be used for GOOD. Thus, his point was that if things are bad right now, then it is clearly not the end of the story.
Looking back at my previous post (Living out of the Palm of His Hands), I can see a clear relationship between this mindset and our need to deepen our relationship and trust in Him. When we trace back through the old testament, we get the privilege of reading one story after another of ordinary people who trusted God with everything while understanding that their difficult circumstance was not the end of the story.
One story that comes to mind is the story of David. Anointed to be king of Israel as a teenager, he had to spend the next 30 years serving a king who not only envied him, but tried time and again to kill him. However, despite the struggles he faced each day with Saul, he never wavered in his commitment to God and the promise that he was to become king over Israel. He never sacrificed his values to gain favor and speed up the process. On multiple occasions, he could have taken matters into his own hands and bring forth his future as king, yet he understood that it is better to trust in God’s timing than his own. We can read through Psalms of his many struggles during those years of waiting. Yet it is clear in each one of them, that he too understood this principle that Paul writes to the Roman church. ALL THINGS work together for good to those who love God.
Daniel is another man that lived with this same understanding. As a young man, he was born into royalty and had been taken captive and forced to serve in the court of the king of Babylon. Faced with death early on, he understood that the horrible circumstance he had been thrown into was not the end. He knew that God had placed him in that pagan court for an eternal reason. As a result, he not only earned the love and respect of this pagan king, but also was able to cause a Kingdom impact that spread throughout Babylon. On multiple occasions, we see how his commitment to God in the midst of persecution and turmoil caused the king to fall to his knees and worship the God of Israel. In total, he had the privilege of serving 3 kings in Babylon and because of him, each of them had their own personal encounter with God that transformed their lives. Here again we see ALL THINGS working together for good.
Finally, I would like to end with reference to the most incredible story of them all, the story of Joseph. I don’t think any of these previous stories pail in comparison to the story of Joseph. A young man born into a family of not only financial wealth, but also an incredible heritage of spiritual wealth as well. Yet, he was hated profoundly by his brothers, thrown into a cistern, sold into slavery, thrown into prison, and forgotten about by those whose lives he had helped transform. Yet, at no point in the story do we see him complaining. At no point do we see him trying to force the prophetic dream come to pass. At no point, do we see him wish anything negative against those who betrayed him along the way. In fact, all we see of Joseph is how successful he was in the midst of all the difficult situations he encountered. He never waivered in his trust in who God is. Finally, in the end, we not only see the dream come to pass, but we also see Joseph honor his brothers and rescue the family from the horrible famine that was plaguing the land. There is no question, that Joseph understood that his story was never over and that ALL THINGS work together for our good.
Church, it is time that we take lessons from our Old Testament heroes and stop murmuring and complaining about our difficult circumstances. Take heart and be encouraged! The things He has promised, He will fulfill! He is someone we can trust! He is faithful!
Church, He will bring ALL THNGS together for our good!
Church, if it is not good, it is not the end of the story!