This Thing Too
Few words have been more near and dear to my heart over the years than these words from the apostle Paul to the Roman church, in which he says, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”1 The striking thing about this truth is not that God works things for good, for that is precisely what you would expect a good God to do. The striking thing about this truth is that God works all things for good—not just this thing or that thing, not just big things or small things, not just happy things or sad things, not just former things or future things, but all things. Again: For those who love God—all things—work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. It’s a striking truth, yet a truth, I fear, that we often take far too lightly, not allowing the weight of it to really hit us.
It’s always easy to apply God’s promises to every unfortunate circumstance but the one we ourselves are currently in. “Yes, God is faithful to all His promises,” we say throughout our lives like good Christians, but the moment the winds start to pick up and the house starts to shake, we often begin to say in our hearts, “Actually, I just don’t know.” The word of God, which was at once an immovable stone, quickly becomes to us a feather tossed by the wind, and we, in turn, are tossed along with it.
There came a point in my life when I became convinced that God says what He means and means what He says, when I decided that I was going to simply take God at His word. I decided that my default hermeneutic would be that of a child’s before that of a scholar’s. If a young boy, for instance, is teetering at the edge of the pool and the boy’s father says, “Jump, I’ll catch you,” you ought to have a compelling reason before telling that boy that his father means otherwise. So when I, a child of God, hear the words of Paul—“all things work together for good”—I take that leap of faith and say to my Father in Heaven who speaks to me through His apostle: “Father, I believe you.” If He says "all things” then He really does mean “all things.” You can be sure that our God has not primarily given us a pile of riddles but a treasure trove of truths, to which we need only say like a foolish yet wise child: “I believe.”
For some time, I took this very truth to heart and sought to put it into practice in my daily life. But it wasn’t until my wife came along that I was able to really capture the sentiment of this daily practice. At some point, with this truth on our minds and with one seemingly unfortunate circumstance in front of us, my wife simply said: “This thing too.”
“But how can this be? How can God actually work all things together for good?” you ask. “How can God work this thing for good?” as you bring to mind your own current state of messy affairs. It’s possible because our God is not a God who merely resides in this corner or that, who merely shows up from time to time; no, it’s possible because of the very fact that our God is a God of “all things.” For with God, “all things are possible.”2 For in God, “all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”3 For from God, “all things come.”4 For God is “the maker of all things”5 and “the builder of all things.”6 “I know that You can do all things,” said a repentant Job who had been filled with the same kinds of doubts as you and me, “and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”7
You see, our God, King of the universe, has laid claim over all things in eternity and is exhaustively sovereign over it all still today. So when He says that He works all things together for good, we can say with confidence to anything and everything that comes our way: “This thing too.” Flat tire on the road? This thing too. Loss of employment? This thing too. Harsh word from a stranger? This thing too. Death in the family? This thing too. Whether to battle scars or self-inflicted wounds even, we can say: “This thing too.” And to say any circumstance is too trivial for His promises is to trivialize God Himself, for His sovereignty is not just exhaustive but inexhaustible. Nothing is too grand for Him and nothing too insignificant—He lets nothing go to waste for the good of His children.
Hey, thanks for reading till the end. If you enjoyed it, you may enjoy my new book, The End of Wisdom. Give it a look by tapping the button below:
All Scripture quotations taken from the Legacy Standard Bible.
1 Chronicles 29:14