If you have had a relationship with anyone longer than about a week, you know this to be true: we each have a different idea of what sounds “good.” Some love the snowy winter; others migrate to warmer climates. Some love eggnog; others feel like they’re drinking warm glue. Some want to attend every Christmas party they can; others just want to sit by the fireplace until spring.
In Romans 8:28, the Apostle Paul writes, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
The promise of this verse is one of the greatest promises in scripture, as long as we are all defining “good” the same way. If we keep reading into verse 29, we see how this passage defines the word: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”
According to scripture, the definition of good is looking more like Jesus. And this might be because of the things in life we would not define as good. God’s plan in redeeming humanity included a period of development in which his children would remain on Earth to operate as the Church. The calling of each person who makes up the Church would be multi-faceted:
- To take the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)
- To love his/her neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40)
- To be transformed into a clearer representation of Jesus each day (Romans 8:29)
The story of Joni Eareckson Tada is inspiring in light of Romans 8:28. At 17 years old, Joni suffered a swimming accident that left her paralyzed from the shoulders down. As she wrestled with her definition of “good,” she began to embrace this truth: “God will permit what He hates to accomplish that which he loves.” - Joni Eareckson Tada
This gave Joni the courage to conquer life regardless of what was limiting her. She became an artist, author, and an inspirational Christian leader.
This Christmas season, regardless of the circumstances that arise which we find bad and imperfect, find hope in the fact that God has a predetermined plan for you that requires some development to complete. There are many things about the birth of Jesus that didn’t seem good; just as there are many things about Jesus’ death that we wouldn’t define as good. But God’s plan was to use it all for a very good thing. Just like God proved his plan by sending His Son, he will work out his plan for your story.
- What is something in your story that seemed bad, but you now understood was working for your good?
- What bad thing is happening now for which you need to embrace the hope of God’s plan for you?
Author: Tyler Jordan, Campus Pastor – Eagle Creek Church Warrensburg, MO