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.
Recently, a song has grown popular that uses a piece of this verse in the bridge (or whatever the correct term is). The song, as many of you who are reading this likely know, is “Your Love Never Fails.” When I first heard this song, the lyrics “You make all things work together for my good” sounded extremely self-centered when I first heard them.
I like the song, but usually, whenever it came to that part I would either not sing it or change the words to “the good” instead of “my good.” It just irked me how selfish it sounded.
The other night, however, I had a friend who was simply reading Scripture to me in order to encourage me. I was talking to this friend and sharing with him my distress about life and love. Of course, he was reading from Romans (or I guess I should say he was reciting Romans from memory) and this verse was one of the ones that came up. When he came to this verse, 8:28, he asked me what it meant to me. What did it mean that God worked all things together for my good?
I gave my friend a vague answer, and I realized that this verse lost its meaning to me. At least, there was no longer anything concrete about the verse. I found this reason (I’ll call it a self-righteous reason) that it was selfish to think that God worked things out for my good. That He specifically spent time to work things out for me. I lost this vision that God was immediately involved in the goings-on in my life because it seemed as though I made God serve me by believing that.
So, I honestly lost that sense of God’s provision because I didn’t want to use that Scripture as an excuse to make God work for me. Many times, I heard this verse used in that way. At least, that was how it felt like the verse was being used:
“Oh isn’t it how nice how my God works all things out for MY good. Isn’t He so nice to be working things together for MY good.”
It just sounded so selfish to me a lot of the times that I heard it. As if God were there only to pacify us and to make us feel better. I couldn’t stand it; so really, I just stopped believing it. Whenever I would hear the verse, I would cease to allow it to encourage me. I wouldn’t allow it to mean anything to me lest I make it about me.
Then, I had a conversation with another friend of mine who mentioned wanting God’s best for her life, and when I heard that, I completely agreed. God has a plan for what is best for our lives, and we should seek God and engage the heart of God in order to learn what that is. This made a lot more sense to me.
On my drive home, I came back to this verse, Romans 8:28, and I meditated on it. I started to realize that I couldn’t disbelieve this verse anymore. Forsaking this as truth has led to a lot of fear and indecision as I try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
I had to realize that the verse was not intended to be read as MY good but my good. There’s no emphasis on either my or good. It’s simply truth. He is God, and He is provision. He is guidance, and He is wise. It’s not selfishness; it’s trust. All things truly are working together for my benefit, not my harm. He has not set out to confound me. God has a best and a good for my life that is for my benefit. That doesn’t mean that it works the way that I would expect or even hope, but all things are working together for a glorious good.
And that good truly is for me, and I need to trust that it is so.