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Rom.8:28 -- What does it say?
- Jacob Ninan
Some people think it says only good things happen to us Christians. Some others think that whatever happens to us is good because it comes from God. Both are NOT right! Many bad things also happen to us, and it is not God who makes everything to happen to us.
What do we mean when we say, "God is in control"? Is it correct to think that God plans and executes every single thing that happens to us. If it were so we could ask Him, e.g., "Why did You do 9/11?" But God doesn't do everything that happens. We are living in a sin corrupted world. Evil people do many evil things, and Satan and his demons also are at work, directly and through people. Our gadgets go wrong just as they do for others. We do many foolish things for which we suffer consequences. This is because God has created people with a freedom of choice. God told Adam and Eve what to do, but He also gave the right to do what they chose. Then where is God in control? He can and does whatever He wants (Ps.115:3). He also puts limits on what can happen to us (Ge.3:22,23;1Co.10:13). Satan could not do to Job more than what God permitted him (Job.1:12;2:6).
What God does say is that whatever happens to us--irrespective of what it is and where it comes from--He will make that to work for our good.
This goes beyond what Joseph said, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Ge.50:20). God causes everything that happens to us to do something good to us. This depends on us too. We can miss them if we react to things in a bad way, or we are not looking for the good God wants to give us through our experiences. What God essentially wants to do for us is to make us more like Jesus (Ro.8:29). That is why Ro.8:28 is valid only to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
When Joseph was taken into slavery wrongly he sought for freedom (Ge.40:14,15). So did Paul (Acts.25:11). They did not thank God for their misfortune and remain there! Learning to give thanks in everything is fine, but don't we also need to overcome every hindrance and fulfil God's plan? Paul sang praises to God even in prison because God was in control, but he made his defence whenever he had opportunity.
Let us want most what God wants to give us, and let us cooperate with Him as He works in and around us.