And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
This verse doesn’t mean all things will be good. No matter how rose-colored our glasses are, there’s nothing good about cancer, sex trafficking, the Covid-19 pandemic, or death. Until Jesus returns and conquers Satan once and for all, sin will continue to drag its poisonous tentacles across our world, damaging and destroying everything in its wake.
The truth of Romans 8:28 reminds us that although sin and Satan are powerful, God is more powerful; He is able to redeem and restore anything for our good and his glory. All things may not be good, but God can and will use all things for good.
Crucially, though, this promise is limited to “those who love God,” and “those who are called according to His purpose.”
And, don’t miss Romans 8:29 – “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers”. The “good” God has promised his children is to conform them to the image of Christ, for the purpose of bringing himself glory.
A wise Bible teacher once said, “God allows everything into our lives for one of two purposes—either to bring us into a relationship with himself or, if we already know him, to make us more like His Son.”
The last paragraph (from The Shack) is a helpful way in looking at God’s goodness and pain/suffering.
“Just because I work incredible good out of an unspeakable tragedies doesn’t it means I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that me using something means I caused it or that I needed to accomplish my purpose. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering your find grace in many facets and colors.”
Joni Eareckson Tada said, “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” There is no greater evidence of this than the cross of Jesus Christ. God permitted what he hates–the sacrifice of his Son–to accomplish what he loves–salvation for all who will put their trust in him.“
Randy Alcorn said, “Good Friday isn’t called bad Friday because we see it in retrospect: We know that out of the appalling bad came inexpressible good. And that good trumps the bad. Although the bad was temporary, the good was eternal. If someone had delivered Jesus from his suffering, Jesus could not have delivered us from ours.“
Adrian Rogers said, “In the chemistry of the cross God takes things that, in and of themselves, are bad, and He puts them together, much as a chemist might take chemicals that, in and of themselves, may be deleterious and mixes them to make a medicine that brings healing. The good is not to make us necessarily healthy or happy but to make us holy, to make us like Jesus.”