… God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
– Rom. 8:28 (NASB95)
John Piper comments on Rom. 8:28, and refers to v. 35: “Tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and peril and sword all work together for the good of those who love God.” In the midst of trial and difficulty within our circumstances, however, remembering and meditating upon such a profound and comforting truth is sometimes the last thing we think about. It’s far more easy to fret, to worry, to allow our emotions to control us even when we know that God reigns sovereign over every detail of our lives, and working it to our good and His glory if we truly seek after Him and His will.
A few weeks ago, I struggled through a decision that would have massive implications on my time, my relationships with people I am close to, and my spiritual sanctification. Sound familiar? It’s not uncommon–many decisions in our lives involve risking the very things that we hold so close to us while our pilgrimage persists. Whether those decisions are in the realm of our career paths, role in ministry, relationships with the opposite gender… every day brings forth new opportunities to grow to trust Him and His sovereignty more and more. But when I pondered my own decision, and wavered and fluctuated in my indecisiveness, a leader and trusted friend in my life questioned, “How seriously do you take Rom. 8:28?”
Decision-making itself is a process for your sanctification. Provided that you are actively seeking after making a decision that would not compromise your personal holiness, ultimately there is no real wrong choice. What do I mean by that? Let me say it this way: if you make choice A, God will work it to your good and His glory. If you make choice B, God will work it to your good and His glory. If you make choice C, it’s the same deal. God will work all things to your good and His glory!
That’s not to say that we should not utilize logic and wisdom in our decision-making. What that does mean, however, is that we should not remain stagnant in our process, awaiting some kind of personal revelation from God or worrying whether or not we are making the right or the correct decision. If it’s not a choice between sin and holiness, good and better, pick anything! Be decisive and trust that God will bless it. And if it turns out well for you, praise God. And if it doesn’t, know this: that God is disciplining you and making you more like His very Son, that is, Christ Jesus your Lord. Whatever comes out of your decision is the best that God can offer you who are His own: you who were chosen to received His grace, ransomed from the pits of Hell, redeemed from the punishment of your sins, cleansed by the precious blood, adopted as His own children, and will one day be made perfect in His sight, complete and lacking in nothing (Jas. 1:4)
So let me ask you: How seriously do you take Rom. 8:28? Do you see pain in the midst of difficulty as discipline for your eternal reward? Do you see blessing in your life as praise to the Giver of life and all that is in it? Do you align yourself with the will of God, and trust in His plan and place faith in His promises, knowing that He is faithful (Heb. 10:23)?
And in light of what you know to be true, go forth and be confident. Make that career choice. Apply for that internship. Ask that girl out. Take that ministry position. Make yourself vulnerable and take the leap of faith. And be rested and assured that through blessing and bliss, suffering and sorrow, goodness and grace, tribulation and trouble, God is working it all for your good and His glory.