Growing up, my family had a tradition that on our birthday we could choose our two favorite homemade desserts to be made. One of my favorites that I often chose was rhubarb pie. There was nothing quite like a bite of rhubarb pie as soon as it was taken out of the oven. There are many ingredients that go into a rhubarb pie such as sugar, flour, butter, rhubarb, etc. When my Mom would go to the store to pick up some rhubarb stalks, I was never once tempted to eat the raw rhubarb as it lay on the counter. It was the same with the sugar, the flour, and the butter. None of these appealed to me in their raw form. It wasn’t until the bitter ingredients were combined that a deliciously good rhubarb pie could be enjoyed.
Romans 8:28 is one of the most quoted (and misquoted) verses in the Bible. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.” God’s two ultimate purposes for the outworking of His eternal plans in our world today are the believer’s good and His glory. In this verse, we focus in on one of those purposes: the good of the believer. This verse explains that we can be confident that “all things” that are occurring in our life are for our ultimate good. The verse does not say that all things are “good” that happen to the believer. There are many trials, tragedies, diseases, and suffering that a believer will endure in this life. However, we can be confident that although each one of these is bitter during the season of testing, they work together for our good in the end. Just as the ingredients of the pie are bitter by themselves, so the experiences of life can often be bitter by themselves. It may seem that all hope is lost or there is no end to a trial. But the believer must view everything in his life through the lens of Romans 8:28. This verse is not written for the unbeliever. It is a promise for “them that love God…the called according to his purpose.” This terminology only applies to a believer in Christ.
God has a personalized way to help each one of His children. It is God that knows us more than anyone else and it is through His infinite wisdom that He is able to bring things in our life at the very season when we need it most. Because of that, we can have great assurance and confidence in God’s eternal plans for us as we labor through this life. Our trials of this life are not by chance or for our harm. Rather, they are by God’s providence and for our profit. This truth should give the Christian patience, lift the soul with hope, and fill one with courage.