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Not Just the Bad Things

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We all know, we all love, we all quote, and at some point we all rely on Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It is a powerfully encouraging verse, a powerfully encouraging promise from God. In the middle of hardship, at the moment of crisis, it is sweet comfort to know that God is at work and that in some way he is bringing good from what seems so bad, and bringing joy from what feels so painful.

The verse comes to us in the context of suffering. Paul explains that the ways we suffer here and now are real and painful, but that they simply do not and will not compare to the eternal weight of glory that is being prepared for us. And even as we endure these times, looking ahead, we can believe and trust that our suffering is not wasted or purposeless. God is at work in our pain, and he speaks comforting words to us through the Bible.

We need to be reassured and comforted that difficult circumstances work for good, but what about the rest of life? Have you paused to think about that little word all before? All things work together for good. If we take that word seriously, we need to extend it beyond the difficult times and allow it to touch the good and even the mundane.

All joyful things work for good. We do not have much trouble accepting this one. But then again, we sometimes enjoy joyful circumstances without pausing to reflect on what God may be accomplishing through them. We take our joys for granted. We may not know God’s purposes in the good moments, but we can and must believe that he is at work, that these too are working for our good.

For all the days just bursting with significance, there are so many more that are mundane.

All mundane things work for good. As we look back on life, we see those great peaks and valleys. The peaks are all those moments of great joy—weddings, the birth of children, the first home, the special vacations. And we also see the dark valleys—accidents, miscarriages, traumatic sin, deaths. And between those peaks and valleys are a million little moments. For every truly great or awful day, there are thousands of unremarkable and forgotten ones. For all the days just bursting with significance, there are so many more that are mundane. We need the reminder during the darkest days, but we do well to hold on to it during the most ordinary as well.

In the joyful days we rejoice in God, in the dark days we go looking for his promises and are comforted that he is working all things for good. And on the ordinary days we just exist. It may be that the hardest thing for us to believe is that these days—these oh-so-normal days filled with nothing of great significance—are also working for our good. Yet these days, too, are within the scope of that all.

As you begin a new day and a new week today at home or in the office or wherever the day takes you, God is at work in and through all those circumstances, to bring about your good. Even in the midst of the ordinary, mundane moments, God is present, God is active, God is working good for those whom he has called according to his purpose.

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