God hath not promised skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through,
God hath not promised sun without rain
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day
Rest for the labor, light on the way;
Grace for the trail, help from above;
Unfailing kindness, undying love.
In Romans 8:28, we find stated one of the greatest promises of God. In this epistle Paul writes “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” If Paul had said “some things work together for good” or “most thing work together for good,” it would not be so difficult for us to understand. However, that little word “all” is most important to this text.
When we read this verse, our first thoughts usually turn to our heartaches, disappointments, pain, inconvenience of life, poverty, and persecution. And why do we first tend to think along this line? Because we are too human to see how our “Dark Days” can possible work for our good. Even though it is often hard for us to see the hand of God working for our good in the difficult things of life, we must trust where we cannot see. To try to seek out reasons for our sorrows is to doubt the wisdom, the love, and the power of God. It is through faith only that we can, and must, accept these things; for, they too, are given us out of the loving hand of God.
The meaning of this verse is that all things work together unto the salvation of the children of God. This verse applies, in general, to the suffering of this present time which we endure in the flesh. More particularly, however, the text applies to the suffering which we endure for Christ’s sake. Texts which can be related to this suffering can be found in Romans 5:3-4, where we read that “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” and in James 1:2, where it is stated that we must count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations.
The verses which follow in Romans 8 further explain how “all things work together for good.” For example, in verse 31, we read that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” When we are in the midst of experiencing one of our “Dark Days,” we should realize that this affliction can in no way be against us, even though from every human point of view, we wonder how this particular suffering can be for us.
Further in this chapter (verse 36), Paul says, “As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Although we lie in the midst of death and taste death in all the sufferings of this present time, it is no punishment or satisfaction for sin. Christ fully atoned for all our iniquities; and therefore, the sufferings which we endure must be sufferings as servants of Christ, and tend unto our eternal good.
Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, says that the things which happened to him were unto the furtherance of the gospel (chapter 1:12). Paul’s experiences are but only one proof of God’s promise that “all things work together for good.” Every trial which we endure is but another proof of God’s divine personal interest. Trials are the tools in the hands of the Divine Architect as He builds us into His eternal plan.
When we experience a “Dark Day,” we must realize that these winds of adversity will cause us to become more firmly grounded in the depths of God’s love. The fiery trials which we must face from day to day will only cause us to seek more often the eternal springs of grace. It is only by grace and through faith that we can fully understand how “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 1 March 1971