The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 (which we will look at this evening):
"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."
I would suggest that more than any other verse in the Bible, this verse has been misused, misquoted and misunderstood.
Who hasn't walked through a trial and had some well-meaning saint tell them, "don't worry, all things work together for good."
And you feel even worse. Whose good are we talking about here?
When I am sick, it doesn't feel good to me!
While Romans 8:28 is a promise to you and I as believers in Christ, and while it is a word of assurance, and while it is a word of assurance to us in "all things", we must understand what the word "good" means.
"And we know that in all things God works (and I am thankful that He works for me) for the "good" of those who love Him."
Is Paul saying that whatever happens is good? No.
Is Paul saying that suffering and evil and tragedy are good? No.
Is Paul saying everything will work out if we just have enough faith? No.
Is he saying that we will be able to understand why God allowed tragedy to come? No.
Then what is Paul saying?
Here's what I know: With this verse - we learn that God is erecting a sign over the unexplainable mysteries of life - a sign which reads, "Quiet. God is at work."
How? That's the mystery. We are not always sure. To what end? Good, not evil.
God is not saying that all things are good but that he works His ways and His will together to accomplish His good (which is different from our good - which is to feel better, have more money, be in good healthy, have a good job, a good house, and be in a good relationship).
Here's the deal - God's bottom line: God's good for us is not our comfortability but our conformity to Christ.
In other words, think long term.
In the short run, the individual ingredients in a cake mix are not necessarily good to eat on their own - flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, oil, but when they are mixed together the taste is definitely good.
Don't short change or run from that trial that you are experiencing today. But instead embrace it, knowing that God is up to something "good" in your life.
Just a thought for a Wednesday.