In All Things God Works For Good

In All Things God Works For Good

  Romans 8:28-29; 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.29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Folks, during these past few weeks I have had more difficulty in trying to prepare theses messages than almost any other times that I can ever recall preparing before. But this has not solved the problem of my message this week. In fact, it has only made it harder because it would be so easy to spend most of my time writing about the past sharing stories about some of the people events that have made me a better writer of the weekly messages.Well, I am not going to do that this week. But what should I write about? There are so many great passages of Scripture. And for several weeks I prayed about, and wrestled with, some passages that I felt would convey what I would like to say to you this week. {{more}}But in the midst of all that, one verse kept pushing its way into my thoughts. I considered it, worked on it for a while, then laid it aside and went on to some other Scriptures. But it kept resurfacing almost as if God was saying, “Do not be so quick to lay this aside, Henry. It has a message that needs to be heard.”Maybe God is trying to accomplish something in the life of someone reading this message this week and He caused this message to be prepared just for you. If so, I pray that He will bless and use this message to His glory this week. Amen!Now what is that verse of Scripture? It is Romans 8:28, where the apostle Paul writes, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Amen! That is a wonderful verse of Scripture, but I think that sometimes we do not really understand what it is saying. Some people seem to think that it is telling us that God has promised those who love Him that everything that will happen to them will be good. But that is not true. That is not what God is promising at all. Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went from Sweden to the heart of Africa to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another Scandinavian couple, the Erickson’s, and soon they felt led by the Lord to move out of the central mission station and take the gospel to one of the more remote areas of the Congo. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. So the two couples decided to go half a mile away and build their own huts.They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood a tiny woman only 4 feet, 8 inches tall decided that if this boy was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead him to Jesus. And in fact, over a period of time she succeeded.But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of their little group after another. In time the Erickson’s decided they had had enough suffering and left for the relative security of the central mission station.Then, in the middle of this primitive wilderness, Svea found herself pregnant. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Anna.The delivery, however, was difficult, and Svea was already weak from malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another 17 daysInside David Flood, something snapped. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then took his children back to the central mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Erickson’s, he snarled, “I am going back to Sweden. I have lost my wife, and I obviously cannot take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he left, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.It is true. Sometimes tragic things happen, even in the lives of those who seek to walk closest to Him. Bad things do happen to good people! And that is just where this passage of scripture comes in to give a message of encouragement and hope to assure us “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” And the very next verse tells us what His purpose is. It says, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Amen!For example, let us look at 3 specific blessings that come into our lives through our problems. And as we see how God has used problems in the past to bring about great blessings, it will help us in the problems we face today.I. God Uses Problems To Direct and Shape Us. The difficult things we experience in life, big and small, are not random freak accidents or streaks of bad luck. They are allowed and at times even orchestrated by God to direct us and to shape us into the image of Jesus. The problem is that we cannot see what He is doing while it is happening. All we see are the chips flying. The chisel’s blow is not evidence that God has left us or is angry with us, but rather that God is right in front of us: eyeing our progress, smoothing the rough edges, patiently bringing the image of Jesus out in us.II. God Uses Problems To Correct Us. Secondly; God can also use problems to correct us. Sometimes you may be stuck in a rut and God uses problems to change your direction in life. It is not that you are doing anything wrong; it’s just that we need a new direction. Amen!But there are other times when we are definitely wrong. We have strayed into sin, and we need God’s correction, His discipline, in order to have our fellowship restored with Him. So God will use some problem in our life to stimulate us to think about the sin that we have fallen into and to correct your behavior.One of the most familiar parables in the Bible is Luke 15:11-20, The parable of the prodigal son.” Who set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.”When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.” Now it just does not get any worse for a Jew than to end up feeding pigs. And the pigs were better off than he was, for it says that he longed just to be able to eat the food that was being given to the pigs. Finally, the problems got to be too much for him, and he began to correct his attitude and his actions. He admitted his sins, repented of them, and turned his steps toward home once again.By the way, do you realize that when we deliberately stray from what we know is right, God has promised to correct us? Hebrews 12:5-6 says: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves.” Amen! III. God Uses Problems To Protect Us. Finally, sometimes God uses problems to protect us. And you can see that illustrated in the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. You know his story, do not you?One moment he was the favorite son, getting anything he wanted. And the next, he was in chains and being sold into slavery. Life could not seem to be any worse for Joseph, but God had a purpose and a plan for his life, and He was watching over him, protecting him, even though Joseph did not realize it then. The story of Joseph’s life is a remarkable one, and only the miraculous hand of God could have accomplished it, taking him out of slavery and making him a ruler in Egypt, second only in power to Pharaoh himself. Now back to our 1st story; Eight months later both of the Erickson’s were stricken with an illness and died within days of each other. The baby was turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” eventually took her with them back to America.As a young woman, she attended a Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst. Years passed. The Hurst’s enjoyed a fruitful ministry. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area.One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and she could not read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There, in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross and on the cross were the words “Svea Flood.”   All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood. Wow! But that is not the end of the story. Let me continue: For the Hurst’s 25th wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered 4 more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God because God took everything from him.”After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he is very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the old man lying in a rumpled bed. “Papa?” she said tentatively. He turned toward her and began to cry. “Aggie,” he said. “I never meant to give you away.” It is all right, Papa, she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.” Amen! “Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.” The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.A few years later, the Hurst’s were attending an evangelism conference in London, England, when a report was given from the nation of Zaire, the former Belgian Congo. The leader of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He then followed with Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” All things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. This is God’s promise to each one of us. Maybe you reading this message today and you still do not understand how God can bring good out of pain. I pray that God will reveal His Will to you in time. Until then, grab this promise and hold on tight. Put your hand in God’s and trust in Him. Now you know how God works for good in all things. Amen!