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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Who's Working ... in All Things?

Treasured Friend,
Today I share an excerpt of a devotional from my compilation eBook, Pearls to Treasure. The whole book features the best people-stories, devotionals, interviews, and short fiction from my first 25 years in publishing ministry. Here are my comments on a passage that's so familiar it's nearly lost its meaning to those of us who are weary and disappointed, grieving or ailing. If that could describe you, there's hope--read on ...

Devotion on Romans 8:28


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Admit it. When you saw the Scripture reference quoted above, you glossed right over the words. Normally, so would I. After all, we know what it says; we've heard it quoted squillions of times. Quoted glibly to us—purportedly to comfort us in our darkest hours. More often, it left us feeling like it had been quoted at us. Leaving us feeling even less understood by a distant Creator who thinks everything in this world—in our lives—is good. "All things work together for good …" Blah. Blah. Blah.

We know better, don't we?

Recently I ran into this verse in a new way. Often reading a different translation of the Scripture can give me a fresh perspective of its content. So, humor me and read Romans 8:28 from the New International Version, quoted above. When I did this, one phrase breathed new life into it for me: "in all things God works …" My eyes stopped right there. I read it over again. Selfishly, I had always focused my attention on "things" in life working together for my good. Yes, I tagged on an obligatory "for His glory," almost as an afterthought. But mostly I have been concerned about everything in life being good for me—good in my eyes and on my time table.

This may be somewhat understandable since the translators of the King James Version made it sound like the "things" are acting all by themselves: "And we know that all things work together for good …" Clearly, someone is orchestrating "all things," but He's working incognito, in the background. It's easy to forget He's there, when you put it that way. My writing professors always harped on the notion that tight writing shows who's causing the action; it features the actor.

That's why this phrase in the niv readjusted my perspective. You see, the Apostle Paul wrote this great truth not to focus my attention on me, but to focus on the God who is at work, intimately involved in all the happenings in this life. I had failed to receive comfort from this verse, because my eyes had been in the wrong place.

Everything we know about the character of God attests to the fact of His unparalleled love for us, to His longing for intimate interaction with each one of us—in every moment of our lives.

So, the fact that "in all things God works" is consistent with all we know about our Creator and Friend. He is at work in our lives because He loves us, He longs to express His grace and His truth to our needy hearts. What a comfort to know that in every circumstance God doesn't just stand by and watch, He doesn't just allow things to happen, but He works to make things happen. Good things. For the translators of all the versions agree that the ultimate result of this work does indeed come for good—yours and mine—and this results in His eternal glory.


My Father and my Friend,

I acknowledge Your loving hand at work in all of the circumstances of my life, and I trust You completely to orchestrate them all for Your glory and for my good.

Amen.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie © 2010, Julie-Allyson Ieron. Excerpted by permission from Pearls to Treasure, Julie-Allyson Ieron, a Joy Media eBook. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com