Summary: Message aimed at helping people see beyond the present circumstances to what God is doing.
God is at Work
How many of you have heard the phrase, “All things work for good.”
Yeah – me too. How many of you believe it? Go ahead, be brave! Show me your hands. Good.
Well, let me ask you something. How about when your tire goes flat in the middle of a blizzard? How about when the bank calls to tell you that you are overdrawn again, even though your check register shows a positive balance?
What about when you hear that a loved one has just contracted cancer, and it’s not looking good? Or maybe you’re the one who just got that news.
What about when your teenage daughter comes in to tell you she’s pregnant?
Still believe that all things work for good?
Well let me tell you what I think. I think that good can come out of these things, but I think the source of the good needs to be clarified.
And to help us with that, I want us to look at Romans 8:28-30, which is printed in your note-taking guide. In fact, I would like you to read this aloud with me, okay?
RO 8:28 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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Did you notice something there? God is doing the work. And I want to encourage you today to keep that in mind as you go through the things that aren’t always pleasant, and maybe downright disastrous in our lives.
And my hope is that you will walk out of here today with a firmer grip on the hand of God, who promises to uphold us, and to keep us in His care.
In doing that I want to give you three things to remember that I believe will help you get through the tough times with the confidence that God is at work.
Here’s the first one:
1. Remember that God is doing the work.
God is the one doing the work.
Now, I just said that, right? But I want to flesh that out a bit before putting it away. I think that this is one of the most fundamental truths about how God works in us that I want us to really hammer it for a bit.
In the King James Version of the Bible, verse 28 reads the way many are familiar with it:
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.
But I like the way the New International Version puts it, which is what is printed in your note-taking guide.
…in all things God works for the good of those who love him…
In the New Living Translation it reads –
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
You see, it’s not the “things” that are doing the work, it’s God.
God has a purpose for everything that goes on in your life. Nothing catches God by surprise, and He is able to make everything work for our benefit.
We won’t always see it this side of heaven, and we may never understand it this side of heaven, but it’s true nonetheless.
One of the hardest emotional feelings people can go through is the thought that maybe God had abandoned them in the midst of their suffering and pain.
Well let me tell you that nothing could be farther from the truth. In the book, Don’t Waste Your Sorrows, Dr. Paul Brand is quoted from another book, although the title escapes me right now, as saying that when you are hurting, God is in you, the one who is hurting, not in the thing that’s hurting you.
God has not abandoned you. He is active and working.
Please, if you are in the midst of something hard right now, understand that God is with you, working in and for you, for your benefit, and for your good.
I can tell you how hard this is to believe at times. When my wife and I have faced miscarriage, when our finances were in such a state that I seriously considered how to cash in my life insurance policy (and I don’t mean cancel the policy) so my family could get out from under the mess, when I was without a job and my family was on state assistance, and on and on.