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Summary: A correction of a much misquoted verse: our hope is built on God, not fatalism.

GOD IS IN CONTROL

ROMANS 8:28

A man’s wife dies, leaving him with three little children to care for. Although he is nor bitter, he is lonely and confused. Perhaps some of his friends try to comfort him by saying, "You know, it all works out for the best."

Try as he might, he cannot bring himself to believe that. He feels deeply that his wife was more important than he when it came to the welfare of his family, even though he was the "breadwinner". No, he could not, and would not say that it was for the best. And quietly he wondered how anyone else could.

Does everything always work out for the best? Many people believe so. They are like the eternal optimist, a Pollyanna, who refuses to acknowledge evil. Yet, many more would challenge the concept. They would ask, "How can you say everything--including war, poverty, suffering, sickness and death--always work out for the best?"

Does the Bible teach this? And as Christians, are we to put our hopes in this dream of everything working out for the best? Frankly, no. But in our text this morning, Paul reaffirmed to the Roman Christians that God was in control. Paul knew that they were facing many storms of life. They needed to know that God was still on His throne.

And we need to know that God is still in control. While everything does not necessarily happen for the best, we can take comfort in knowing that there is a guiding hand leading us in life. Join with me in a

close look at Romans 8:28, and lets discover what it means to say that God is in control.

I. God is at work in the lives of His people.

A. This verse does not affirm a type of divine fatalism.

1. It is not a sort of celestial "Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be."

2. It doesn’t speak of a "it was your time, and nothing could save you" mentality.

B. Fatalism is part of many in our land.

C. What this verse does affirm is that God is loving and cares for His children.

II. God is at work in all the circumstances of life.

A. This is not to say that life will always be pleasant.

1. Some believe that this is what faith is all about.

2. Simply believe and life becomes what you wish for.

B. Many are much like a little boy who prays for a bicycle. When he awakes to find that there is no miracle bike, he refuses to believe in God anymore--after all, God didn’t answer his prayer.

C. But this verse does tell us that in the midst of our trials, we are never alone

III. God is at work to fulfil His purpose in our lives.

A. Now, God is not a grand balancing scale meeting out equal amounts of good and bad in our lives.

B. This is the way some have interpreted this verse.

1. For every bad event there must be an equal good event.

2. Some even get the thing all reversed. Have you ever been guilty of saying that things have been "too good" lately, when is something bad going to happen?

C. God’s purpose in our lives is that we conform to the image of our Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.

IV. God is at work at His own pace.

A. The conforming into the image of His Son is not an instantaneous process.

B. I believe that this is, in part, the reason there is so little commitment to "church" today.

1. People in my generation weren’t being "touched" by religion--it wasn’t giving them instant gratification.

2. So many "baby boomers" simply became indifferent to the faith.

3. Others hop from experience to experience, church to church, seeking a spiritual high--my good friend David.

C. What God is doing in our lives is a lifelong journey, a continuing process.

God is in control! Somehow, in the face of life’s battles and storms, we need to reaffirm that truth in our own lives, and in the lives that are hurting around us. This is not a promise of a primrose path in life. But it is a promise that our lives mean something. For God is at work in the lives of His people. He is at work in all circumstances that face us. God works according to a grand purpose, and He works at His own pace to accomplish that purpose in our lives.

God is in control! Do you believe it? Open your heart to Him. Hear His call in your life and return His love. Know that you don’t have to face life’s difficulties and triumphs alone. God is in control! Commit your life, joy and sorrow, into His hands.

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