Introduction - Boy, are we all different! The world is colored by a vast array of personalities, opinions, and interests. Aren't we glad we are not all the same--dull...
Don't Give Me a Band Aid
Oh, not again!
Bad stuff always happens to me!
I'm willing to bet you've said every one of those. We tend to magnify the things that don't go our way and ignore the millions of situations and events that do turn out the way we want them to.
BAD usually gets all the attention.
As Christians, we go a step further. We often try to help matters by overusing a little promise in Romans. We treat the Scripture verse like a topical ointment. And we're right in one sense. When applied correctly, it brings strength and healing. But when slathered on incorrectly, it irritates and causes bitterness. It's best used on yourself, rather than try to treat someone else in the moment of pain.
The verse is found in Romans 8:28 "All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."
The grieving mother looks at her dead child. The unemployed man shakes his head at his last paycheck. The pregnant teenager feels her swollen belly and turns her face away.
No drowning victim wants to hear a chirpy Bible verse from someone on dry land. One look at your situation and you know in your heart that there is no way this is good. You may not admit it. You may smile and nod, as though the promise applied to you-- but you know it doesn't. God skipped over you this time.
What is not stressed in that verse is the little word "together."
Ever tasted cocoa straight from the box? What does baking powder taste like? How about dry flour? Good? Hardly. But when mixed together and baked just right, the cake is delicious.
God is telling us in Romans that even though what happened to you may be horrible, it doesn't stand alone in your life. Not all events are good, so we don't have to pretend they are. Pain is pain. Disappointment, heartache, and shock are real and God never intended to slap a happy band aid over your hurt with this verse.
Instead he is promising that if you stick with him through it, He'll stick with you. He'll take those raw ingredients that make up your life and bake them just right. He'll weave purpose through all the seemingly random events and bring a good from it you never considered.
The problem we have is looking at each event as a separate issue, as though not connected to the rest of our lives. God doesn't see it that way. He views you as a work-in-progress, as He did with original creation. As each created entity came into being He said, "It is good." It wasn't finished, but He already saw how good it was going to become.
Our lives are not finished either. As each event unfolds, we have a choice.
We can rant and rave, angry at a God who should have made this turn out better. Or we can be still and listen for the voice that says, "It is good" and trust that it will work together with everything else to bring about the greatest purpose in our lives..