What Does the Bible Say About Everything Working Out for Good?
Romans 8:28 in the New Testament of the Bible says: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
When we witness bad things, such as child poverty, or face pain and tribulations in our lives, we sometimes wonder if God has a solution. We also wonder sometimes if God hears our groanings or cares about suffering in the world.
But Romans 8:28 and the context surrounding it teach us some important truths about God and who we are in Christ:
- God is always working.
- God has a purpose for our lives.
When we love God and are called according to his purpose, we learn to see the way God is working for our good in all things.
This Bible verse comes from the book of Romans. It was written by the Apostle Paul, who also wrote several other books in the New Testament, including Philippians, Ephesians, and 1 and 2 Corinthians. It’s a popular book for devotional reading and Bible study, and it teaches us a lot about God’s plan and purposes.
What Does It Mean That “In All Things God Works for the Good of Those Who Love Him”?
The translation of Romans 8:28 in the New International Version says,
“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.”
This means that God uses everything for our growth and refinement, shaping us for his plan and purpose.
Regardless of the Bible translation used, the Book of Romans describes how our fallen world is not yet how God wants it to be. It tells us about the hope we have in Jesus Christ for salvation and for the world to be made new.
It can be hard to believe that all things work for our good. And actually, the Apostle Paul isn’t saying that all things, all the time, work together for good. Notice how he adds these important phrases: “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” (NIV).
Here we learn two things bring about “the good” we can expect to experience:
- Loving God (passionately following Jesus and applying God’s Word in our day-to-day lives).
- Knowing and following the call of God for our lives.
This doesn’t mean that God is working against people who don’t believe in or know him. But unless we are truly listening to God, walking with him and spending time with his Word, we won’t see or experience all the good he reveals as he lays out a path for our lives.
How Does God Make All Things Work Together for Good?
The first way God makes things work together for our good is by taking the penalty for our sin that we deserve onto himself. The beginning of Romans talks about how when we are saved, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, American Standard Version [ASV]).
But if God is making all things work together for good, why does he allow suffering in the world?
God never promised us a life free from suffering or sorrow while we are on earth, even if we are Christian. Jesus said that in this world, we will all experience pain, tribulation, affliction and grief.
Human suffering is widespread on a global level, with wars, world poverty, human trafficking and disasters frequenting the news. And we each suffer on a personal level as we face illnesses, difficult relationships, loneliness and the loss of our loved ones.
Sometimes it feels nearly impossible to see how God might redeem such horrible situations. But Romans 5:3 points out a few ways he does.
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, NIV)
This is one big reason to hope. Even though suffering is part of living in our fallen world, God makes us an important promise: that he will be with us through it all.
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21-22, NIV).
God not only stays with us during our trials, but he actually uses our suffering for good. God redeems our sufferings. It’s hard to imagine, but he uses even terrible circumstances to bring about beauty and glory: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NIV).
As God prepares his kingdom, he uses us in his plan and for his purpose. God works for our good by renewing us by the Holy Spirit. He helps us live new lives, obeying his commands and finding our purpose and calling as we become more like his Son, Jesus. Next, the chapter says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9, King James Version [KJV]).
When we love God and follow his purpose and call, we experience more and more of God’s redemptive kingdom. We learn how much he loves us. We begin to change things for good. Our lives are more aligned with the flourishing that God desires for his children and less and less with the bondage and suffering that sin causes.
It doesn’t mean that everything instantly gets fixed. But over time our daily life is transformed, and we become vessels of God’s love to others. We trust God and respond to his guidance for our lives. In eternity, we will see how all things worked together for our good, that is, for our salvation, growth and flourishing, and relationship with God.
What Is God’s “Good Plan” for Children Living in Poverty?
The Bible tells us that because of original sin, we live in a fallen world and will experience suffering until Jesus’ return. But that’s not permission for apathy; the Bible also tells us to love others and help ease the suffering where we can:
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17, NIV)
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18, NIV)
As a ministry that has been releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name since 1952, we at Compassion International believe that God has a good plan for children living in poverty (Jeremiah 29:11). And you are part of the plan.
When you sponsor a child, you become God’s instrument to help make all things work together for good. Your sponsorship helps by providing:
- Educational assistance, including textbooks, school uniforms, post-secondary courses, tutoring, test and lab supplies and even literacy and financial training for caregivers.
- Health and hygiene training to protect against preventable disease.
- Ongoing Christian discipleship through a local church.
- Key life skills training, mentoring and vocational programs.
- Nutritious food and supplements to protect against malnutrition.
- Recreational activities and support to develop self-confidence and social skills.
- Protection from crime, violence and danger.
- Access to emergency services like surgeries and disaster relief.
Through decades of ministry, we have witnessed God’s good plan playing out in the lives of young people graduating our program with the opportunities, vocational skills and hope to pursue their dreams.
We have seen his good plan recognized in independent research finding that sponsorship through Compassion has significant positive impacts in the lives of adults who were in our program as children.
When you sponsor a child in poverty, you get to speak into the life of a child, telling them that although they live in poverty, poverty does not live in them. You empower the child’s local church to meet his or her needs while sharing God’s redeeming love in the process.
Speak Into a Bad Situation and Help Redeem It for Good. Sponsor a Child Today!