The COVID-19 crisis is shaking our nation, and the world, in many ways. Everyone is affected in one way or another. But let us focus on what is unshakeable: the precious promises of God. The crisis we now find ourselves in has no power to shake the promises of God toward us. Romans 8:28 is very comforting for us now.
“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
Romans 8:28 is a promise that brings us comfort in our despair, gives us hope in the most testing circumstances, and is a powerful weapon we can use when we fight unbelief in difficult circumstances.
Knowing God’s promises toward us, and trusting Him to fulfil them, is essential for our spiritual health. It will give us hope, boldness and courage when things are not going as we expect them to.
Paul was very confident about this promise. He wrote “and we know…” He writes with such a conviction, such a solid assurance that God will do this, that he says with confidence “we know.”
That’s why we need to know the promises of God, we need to be reminded of what He has promised to do for us because life does get difficult. God has not promised us a pain-free life. In fact, Jesus said to His disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Romans 8:28 is a very precious promise, and in such a time like this, we need to make sure it is in our armoury. We need every single one of God’s promises. Like a soldier that goes into a battle cannot leave any of his armour behind, we too, need to be equipped with of all God’s promises as we face uncertain times.
What does it mean that all things work together for good?
Does Paul mean that bad things won’t happen to good people? Does Paul mean that righteous people won’t suffer in this life? Definitely not.
The Bible does not teach us anywhere that only good things happen to good people. The best person who ever walked this earth, Jesus Christ our Lord, suffered at the hands of evil men, and was killed unjustly.
There are other examples in the bible where bad things happened to good people. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. Job suffered immensely when Satan hit his family and Job’s body. Daniel was thrown into a lion’ den. Daniel’s friends were thrown into a fiery furnace. Abel who offered to God a sacrifice which pleased Him, was killed by his jealous brother.
In all these examples, bad things happened to good people.
To understand what Paul means by his statement in Romans 8:28, we need to consider the context of his statement.
Just eight verse earlier Paul writes that we are “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
So before Paul writes that all things work together for good, he writes that believers will suffer with Christ, and that their suffering cannot be compared with the glory that awaits them. Then seven verses after his Romans 8:28 statement Paul writes “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or perception, of famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
If in the same chapter, Paul writes that believers will suffer together with Christ, and in the same chapter he also writes that none of the bad things like tribulation, distress, the sword being threatened against us, will separate us from the love of Christ, then Paul can’t mean that when all things work together for good, that only good things will happen to good people.
But what he does mean, is that no matter what happens to a genuine Christian, even if it is bad, even if Satan intends to harm the believer, God has a different design and purpose for the Christian’s suffering which will ultimately bring good.
Our God is so powerful that He can bring good out of something bad. Remember that no matter what people or even Satan has planned against you, God has a different purpose in that situation for your good. Evil men planned a scheme against God’s Son, but God had a different purpose which resulted in good. Pharaoh was evil towards the Israelites, and God had His own plan for their good. Satan had an evil plan against Job, and God had His own plan for Job which triumphed over Satan’s.
If all things work together for good, if this is God’s promise, if the word “all” means there are no exceptions to this promise, then no matter what comes against us, God will bring good out of it. This means that even with the COVID-19 crisis, God is in control, and will use it for our good.
This should inspire our faith in God. If you find yourself asking “what good can come out of this?” remember this promise. It is a promise sealed for us with the blood of His Son Jesus.
We learn from Romans 8 that because of the work of Christ for us: God is with us, we are free from condemnation, we are deeply and forever loved, nothing that comes against us can separate us from the love of Christ. These are precious truths that will nourish our souls during this difficult time.
In Christ alone my hope is found
Writing these words reminds me of the beautiful words in the song “In Christ alone”:
“In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
During this crisis, it will be evident where our true hope is. Let’s not be shaken by COVID-19, but let us rejoice that as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, God is for us, God is with us, COVID-19 will not separate us from His love. For those who love God, and are called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.