Lesson for the Lord’s Day

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. Romans 8:28

Billy was strong, athletic, and played college basketball before marrying his long-time sweetheart, getting a good job, and raising two fine boys. But at 35, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Although the prognosis was not good, he went through all the treatments with a cheerful spirit, thanking the Lord for all the blessings he had received, and witnessing to those around him of his hope in Christ. Before his final treatment, the pastor of Billy’s church invited him to speak and share his faith. For the first time, Billy’s brother Jack accepted his invitation to attend the service. And during the service, finally convinced that Billy’s faith was not a crutch, Jack trusted Billy’s Saviour as his own. Although Billy did not survive his battle with cancer, he did have the joy of seeing his firm belief in today’s text lead to his own brother’s salvation.

No, our text is not promising that all things we encounter in this life as Christians will be good. We know better than that; many Christians have to go through pain, grief, heartache, and suffering of many kinds. The words ‘all things’ takes in all of those as well as the good things, and looks beyond them to the good that God will work out of them. We can’t always know the reasons why God brings along those things that try and trouble us. And God does not always reveal His purposes in these things in our lifetime. But He will reveal them, whether in time or in eternity: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ – 2 Corinthians 4:17.

But the promises in our text are not for everyone, not even for every Christian. they are’to them that love God’. So how can we tell who are the ones who love God? The Lord Jesus gives us the answer to that: ‘If ye love Me, keep My commandments’ – John 14:15. Obedient Christians are obedient because they love their Saviour. And because of their love for Him, God is able to take their obedience and work out good results in ways that may or may not be apparent at the time. It is only in our obedience that God can make all things work together for good. Sometimes God can bless despite our disobedience. But as a rule our disobedience results in that which is not good. Disobedience causes all manner of bad things, including disappointment, shipwreck, and loss of testimony. The wonderful promise in our text does not apply to the disobedient child of God.

Listen to the words of Esther Kerr Rusthoi’s lovely hymn: ‘It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.’ – Jim MacIntosh

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