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.Romans 8:28 NIV
Romans 8:28 is a popular verse among many Christians. It states that in all things, God is working for my good. For those who, like me, struggle with self-centeredness, this is an appealing message. God is working for my good. While I might be experiencing some struggles now, they are temporary. God will soon step in to work it all out and fix things for me.
But is that really what this passage says? I don’t believe it is. It is not a promise that I am going to be debt-free, with a nice car and house, a good job, an adoring wife, and obedient children. I might think those are good for me. But God is looking at something bigger. He is preparing me both for service here as well as for eternity.
According to His Purpose
You notice that the verse and passage go on. He is working for the good of those who love him—those who have been called according to his purpose. There is a lot in that, but of particular interest is the expression ‘called according to his purpose’. God is not working for my purposes, but for his. He is working, through all things, to make me good for his purposes. He is the master craftsman. I am just a lump of clay. He is not working to make me what I want to be. But what he wants me to be. A good and useful pot that he can fill.
The two verses that follow describe some of what God is doing in and for me. He predestined me to be like Jesus. That is what this lump of clay is being molded into. And he has called me, justified me, and glorified me. God is indeed working for my good. In all things.