Tuesday, December 07, 2010

2010 – December 7 – The Good in Things Not So Good

Study from God’s Word Romans, Chapters 3 - 8 … Passage for Reflection: Romans 8: 28 … NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been (the) called according to His purpose.

My Journal for Today: Well, in asking readers to read, study, and meditate through some pretty weighty passages, especially the great Christian victory treatise in Romans 8, it’s not surprising that Dr. Smith, my devotional author, picked Romans 8: 28 as the highlight text for today’s devotional concentration.

I say this because I believe this passage is one of the lightning rod passages in Paul’s charge to Christians (from 2nd Cor. 13: 5) to examine our faith and see if we’re really “in the faith.” We’ve also been charged by God to test what we learn in life against God’s truth [i.e., The Bible] so that we can hold on to what is true (see 1st John 4: 1 and 1st Thes 5: 20-21). So, with that charge from God’s word of truth, we come on to a passage like Proverbs 3: 5-6 and today’s text from Romans 8: 28; and our faith is really put to the test, isn’t it?

What about it, Christian? Do you really trust God in ALL things – not SOME things >>> but ALL things? That’s the thrust of the Prov. 3: 5-6 passage, isn’t it? And then there’s the acid test of faith, which we’re given in today’s passage. God – through Paul – incredibly claims that ALL THINGS, no matter what they are or how raunchy they are, are for my good. And why? Well, they are for my good because I’m in Christ; and being in me, Christ, in the presence of His Holy Spirit, has promised that he’s shaping me (i.e., completing) me in His image (that the promise of God in Phil. 1: 6). And even more, His word says (in 1st Cor. 10: 13) that He will not put us into any test or trial in life which we, as His own, cannot handle.

No, God doesn’t promise me (or any Christian) a rose garden in life. Today’s passage does not say that all things in life ARE good. It says only that all things in life are FOR THE GOOD of those who are the called to God’s purposes (that’s you and me as Christians). So, now the question becomes, if we believe in the truth of Prov. 3: 5-6, can we hold to the truth (i.e., can we trust the truth) of Romans 8: 28? And right now, as you read this, you may be dealing with some pretty tough stuff. So, how we doing in our pop-quiz of faith today?

Maybe you’re dealing with life-threatening cancer. Maybe you’re reflecting on the loss of a child at a very young age. Maybe _______________ … well, you fill in the blank with your own life challenge; and then we need to ask ourselves what Dr. Smith posits as today’s difficult devotional question: ”Do I fully trust that God is bringing about good even in the most dire circumstance I might face?” And if we use that question as our 2nd Cor. 13: 5 test of faith; and we say “NO” as our answer, we have to say that we’ve failed God’s pop quiz of faith today; and we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and ask if we can receive God’s saving grace in faith, from a God Who give us, or allows, the tough stuff of life.

But if we can say “YES” to the Romans 8: 28 and Prov. 3: 5-6 tests of faith, we can move forward, KNOWING that God is moving us through life – yes, even through the toughest parts of life - for HIS reasons, … in HIS timing, … for HIS purposes, … preparing us for HIS eternal completion, which is our transformation into HIS image.

And as Lily Tomlin used to say, with a pronounced lisp, as little “Edith Ann” on the TV show Laugh-In, … “That’s the truth!”

My Prayer for Today:
Lord, I believe Your word – Your truth – so, help me in my unbelief, when I’m tested by life, to hold to my trust in Your ever-present love. Amen

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