VERSE OF THE DAY
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.
In all things and all days we know God works for the best of interests of those who love him as we all are children of God’s we have been called according to his will and purpose
We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan. (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. – Romans 8:28 (NIV) The Living Bible translation words it this way: “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.”
What is the Meaning of “All Things Work Together for Our Good?”
WRITTEN BY WENDY MCMAHAN
How long could you go without a source of income? If you didn’t have a paying job for a few months or even a year, would you still be able to trust that God was working everything together for your good?
When Larry Ward founded Food for the Hungry (FH) at the age of 45, he felt a clear call from God. According to Norman Rohrer’s biography of Dr. Ward, One at a Time, Dr. Ward had just received a pay increase at his previous job. Yet he resigned from that position to follow God’s call.
Rohrer writes, “In (Dr. Ward’s) new mission, he would work for two years without a salary. He was not beginning with small plans. He was prepared to pay the price of venture.”
Did you catch that? He was a successful, driven professional with a young family at home, yet he would go for two years without a salary.
Two years without any income would make most of us wonder if we had truly heard God’s call. But in moments when God’s timeline doesn’t appear to match up with our expectations, we can trust God’s promises.
A Promise for Our Good
Romans 8:28 is a promise that rang true for Dr. Ward, as it has been true for Christians throughout history.
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. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)
The Living Bible translation words it this way: “And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.”
The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans, which many consider to be the most rich theological treatise in Scripture. He begins chapter 8 by discussing the differences between living by the Spirit and living by the flesh. He points out that living by the Spirit makes us sons and daughters of God.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. – Romans 8:16, 17 (NIV)
Then Paul compares the sufferings that we face in this life with “the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). He entreats us to wait patiently and to trust that the Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray for.
All Things Work Together
The promise of Romans 8:28 that God works for our good “in all things” is reassuring. It means that no matter the circumstance, there are only two qualifiers for God to be working all things together for our good.
First, He works for “the good of those who love Him.” If you love God, you can trust that He is working for your good. He loves you back, and when we love people, we seek their welfare.
Second, He works for “those who are called according to His purpose.” Do you realize that following God entails submitting to His purpose for you? You have been called by Him for a purpose that He holds for your life.
In fact, the wording of this verse suggests that these two qualifiers–loving God and experiencing His call–are actually one. Those who love God are called according to His purpose. And vice versa.
Being called according to God’s purpose also reminds us what “our good” actually is. It’s not our comfort or worldly success. It’s the furthering of His purpose through us.
Small and Large Things
Today, FH workers continue to see God working things together for their good every day.
Amalia Toc has served with FH in her home country of Guatemala for 11 years. As a child she lived in an FH community and was a sponsored child. Later, as an adult, she learned of a job opportunity at FH and applied.
Amalia took the step of faith to work for FH, but in her first few weeks on the job, she doubted God’s call. She couldn’t see God working all things together for her good. Like Dr. Ward, she took a pay cut to join staff at FH. She also left behind a job with a pending promotion, frequent bonuses, and good friends.
When she arrived at FH, her first task was to translate a stack of letters between sponsored children and their sponsors. “Although I enjoyed translating the letters, it became monotonous after a few days. The doubt hit me again.”
Amalia’s strong faith kept her coming to work. “Then I stumbled upon a letter that brought the answer I was looking for,” she said. “The sponsors wrote with so much love to a sponsored child. They told this young girl how much Jesus loved her, and that He had beautiful plans for her life. They encouraged her continue working hard in school.”
“Reading the letter brought me to tears,” she said. “I could feel that those words were from God to me, too. Since then, I’ve known that God wanted me here.”
How About You?
Are you going through a circumstance where you can’t see God working? When Dr. Ward founded FH, he had already been through many faith-building experiences that led him to trust God’s promise to work things together for his good. He persevered through those two years of need by remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. And later, as he continued to face challenges and hardships in ministry, he gained strength by looking back on that time as yet another circumstance in which God had worked.
Likewise, Amalia has had the courage to serve with FH for the past 11 years because she can remember a specific way that He spoke into her life when she felt lonely and confused.
Today, take a moment to thank God that He is working all things together for your good, even in the circumstances where you can’t yet see the result.
“All Things Work Together for Good” – 3 Important Truths in Romans 8:28
• Lori Hatcher
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Romans 8:28 is one of the most memorized and quoted verses in the New Testament: “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.” This Scripture brings comfort, direction, and hope to Christians every day. Sadly, it’s also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood verses in the Bible. Therefore, I’d like to share three things about this popular verse you may never have noticed.
First, Romans 8:28 includes Loving God and Being Called to His Purpose
To understand the truth of this scripture quote, we can’t just quote the part of the verse we like: “And we know that in all things God works for the good…” and skip the rest, “of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 is a promise for believers. Real believers. Those who are living for Christ. Not those who claim to believe in God but are living like the devil.
This verse says to those who love God and are doing their best to obey his commands, “Even though bad/sad/evil/wicked things will touch your life, I (God) will use them to ultimately bring about good, both in your life and in the world.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, an inspirational speaker, author, and singer, is a quadriplegic who has been confined to a wheelchair for more than 40 years. When people ask her why God allows suffering, she often says, “God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” And what does God love? For people to enter into a relationship with himself and become more like him. Joni’s life and ministry are a stunning testimony of how God can use a tragedy like a paralyzing diving accident to impact the lives of millions.
Want to discover more in the Book of Romans? Download our FREE 31-Prayer Guide to pray through the Book of Romans.
Second, Romans 8:28 doesn’t mean all things will be good.
No matter how rose-colored our glasses are, there’s nothing good about cancer, sex trafficking, or death. Until Jesus returns and conquers Satan once and for all, sin will continue to drag its poisonous tentacles across our world, damaging and destroying everything in its wake.
The truth of Romans 8:28 reminds us that although sin and Satan are powerful, God is more powerful; He is able to redeem and restore anything for our good and his glory. All things may not be good, but God can and will use all things for good.
Third, the Importance of the Verse following Romans 8:28
“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).
A wise Bible teacher once told me, “God allows everything into our lives for one of two purposes—either to bring us into a relationship with himself or, if we already know him, to make us more like His Son.”
My friend Billy was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 35. Billy played college baseball, married his sweetheart, and fathered two handsome sons. Convinced of the truth of Romans 8:28 and 29, he chose to believe God had a good plan for his bad cancer.
Because Billy believed God could use even something as destructive as a brain tumor, he responded in faith and trust. “Even though this is not what I planned for my life,” he told his family, “I trust God to use it for good.” His unshakeable faith and peace were so profound that church leaders asked him to share his story at a men’s event.
Billy agreed. Then he invited his younger brother, Jack, to go with him. Jack had never accepted any of Billy’s invitations to go to church, but this time, he said yes.
When Billy finished telling his story, the pastor invited attendees to come forward if they wanted to know how to have a relationship with God. Jack was the first person out of his seat.
“I’ve always thought Billy’s faith was a crutch,” Jack said, “but watching him go through three surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation made me realize what he had was real. And I wanted it.”
Billy didn’t survive his battle with cancer, but because he chose to respond in faith and trust, many people, including his younger brother, came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Billy’s cancer wasn’t good, but God used it for good to make him more like Christ and to draw others into a faith relationship with himself.
We find perhaps the greatest comfort of Romans 8:28 in the first three words, “And we know.” Adrian Rogers, in the Billy Graham training seminar, “Rising Above Your Circumstances,” said, “This is not conjecture, this is not happenstance, this is not perhaps, this is not maybe; this is ironclad certainty. ‘We know that all things work together for good.’”
As long as we live in this world, people will attempt to reconcile God’s sovereignty with humanity’s suffering. Verses like Romans 8:28 assure us that no suffering is wasted, and God is always at work for our good and his glory. When we cannot comprehend why trials come and struggle to imagine that anything good can come from them, we can rest in the security that God is in control.
Because of this, we can have hope.
Father, sometimes I can’t understand how you can bring beauty from the ashes of my life. I struggle to trust you with the broken pieces. You say in your Word that without faith it is impossible to please you, and I want to please you. I want to trust you. I want you to make me more like Jesus and use my trials for my good and your glory. Help me believe the promise of Romans 8:28. In the strong name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.
Lori Hatcher is a blogger, women’s ministry speaker, and author of the Christian Small Publisher’s 2016 Book of the Year, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. A Toastmasters International contest-winning speaker, Lori’s goal is to help busy women connect with God in the craziness of everyday life. She especially loves small children, soft animals, and chocolate. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@lorihatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God’s Word in relation to your life today.
“Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart”
“Be Strong and Courageous”
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ”
“Be Still and Know that I Am God”
Finding Hope In Times of Trouble (Romans 8:28)
In a fallen world, disappointment and discouragement are an unfortunate but ever-present part of life. We all experience trouble in our lives. The source of trouble might be a divorce, money problems, a rebellious teenager, a loved one addicted to drugs, suicide in the family, bad relationships at work, or any number of other issues. It’s a sad fact that bad things happen to good people.
The list of unwelcome circumstances that can intrude on our lives is a long one, and even the most righteous Christians encounter hard times. When troubles rain down, the rain falls on sinners and saints alike. This is the bad news. The good news is that God can make something good come out of even the worst circumstances. This is the message in Romans 8:28 where we read: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Consequently, when you are struggling through hard times, it is important to try look for God’s purpose in your suffering. Knowing His purpose my not alleviate the pain you feel, but it can give you hope that God is going to use your suffering for good in some way. The key to discovering that purpose is to look past your struggles to how God might be using it them for good. As you begin to look for God’s purpose in your suffering, be reassured that His overall purpose in our lives is to make us more like Him; more Christ-like in everything we think, do, and say. Further, God can see right into our hearts. He knows our inner-most thoughts, weaknesses, and transgressions. Consequently, He knows how far we have come and how far we have yet to go on our journey to be more like Him. When He sees areas in our lives in need of improvement, He sometimes uses the suffering we are enduring to make those improvements.
Before continuing, a caveat is in order here. The fact that God can use our suffering for good does not mean He causes our suffering just so He can do good things. The fact that God uses our suffering to make improvements does not mean He causes our suffering. We suffer because we live in a fallen world where bad things can happen and often do. We live in a world where people have free will and often exercise it irresponsibly causing problems for themselves and others. It is important to understand this because Christians who are suffering sometimes wonder if they are being punished by God.
In a fallen world where troubles are part of life, God uses your disappointment and discouragement to satisfy some purpose He has for you; to make you better in some way. He knows you even better than you know yourself, and He knows what you need to become more Christ-like. Your suffering can be a tool He uses to accomplish this purpose. Consequently, when life hurts it is important to be open to learning how God might use your suffering to make you more Christ-like.
Finding God’s purpose in your suffering can be difficult because it can require soul-searching and self-examination. This is hard enough to do on a good day, but it can be especially difficult when you are struggling with adversity. To find God’s purpose in your suffering, you may have to look deeply into yourself and ask, “How do I need to change to be more like Christ?”
Recognizing and honestly admitting our shortcomings is never easy. As human beings our motto might be summarized in these words: emphasize the best and downplay the rest. The problem with this approach is that God sees right through us to the core of our hearts and souls. We may be able to hide our shortcomings from others and even ourselves, but we cannot hide them from God.
TO FIND GOD’S PURPOSE IN YOUR TROUBLES LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Christians who are hurting sometimes need help in finding God’s purpose in their suffering. Because this is often the case, I developed a brief self-assessment that makes probing the possibilities of God’s purpose in your suffering a systematic and objective process (or as objective as people who are hurting can be). The self-assessment is based on the following questions:
• Could God be using your suffering to increase your faith?
• Could God be using your suffering to improve your Christian character?
• Could God be using your suffering to prepare you to better serve Him?
Answering these questions will require prayer coupled with honest introspection. In asking these questions, you seek to discover things God already knows about you, but you may not yet know about yourself. In pursuing answers to these questions, you should come to know yourself better. This is a good thing, but it can be a hard thing. What can make the process especially challenging is that you may find it difficult to admit to yourself and God some of the answers you discover.
This looking-honestly-in-the-mirror aspect of the process can cause discomfort and even emotional distress, at least in the beginning. This is why prayer is such an integral part of your introspective journey to discover God’s purpose in your suffering. You probably won’t be able to forthrightly answer these questions or acknowledge what you discover about yourself without the help of God, and that help is sought through prayer.
If you are bogged down in disappointment or discouragement, these three questions, along with prayer, can help identify God’s purpose in your suffering. Doing so may not take the pain or stress you feel away, at least not immediately, but it will give you a sense of hope. It may not show you the light at the end of the tunnel, but it will show you there is one.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com
What does Romans 8:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]
Here again, we find a verse which is extremely popular, often mis-applied, and even controversial. Despite its incredibly comforting message, some Christians have had an awkward relationship with this verse over the years. That is in no small part due to how easy it is to take this verse out of the context of Romans 8. Stripping these words of their context destroys the essence of what Scripture is saying. It is also possible to interpret the verse correctly, and still misuse it to dismiss the genuine pain and suffering of another person.
Paul has been describing the life of Christians on this side of heaven as one of groaning as we long to escape the suffering of this life and to be with our Father God in person (Romans 8:18–23). We wait in the sure hope of the day our bodies will be resurrected and we will share in God’s glory (Romans 8:24–25).
What about all the hard things that come along while we are waiting? Paul seems to offer the promise of this verse as a comfort for us.
Crucially, though, this promise is limited to “those who love God,” and “those who are called according to His purpose.” In short, that means the promise is for Christians: for saved believers, who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ (John 3:16–18; 14:6; Romans 3:26). No matter our feelings on a given day, loving God is part of what it means to live in Christ. That’s who we are. Each of us is also called to fulfill God’s purposes.
In other words, this verse cannot rightly be applied to non-Christians. Those who reject God do not express their love for God by coming to Him through faith in Jesus. For those who die without Christ, things will not have worked out for the better; they will have rejected the opportunity to take advantage of this promise (John 3:36).
What is the promise? That, for those who are saved, all things will indeed work together for good. “All things” should be taken to mean each and every circumstance one might experience, even pain or suffering. “Work,” or “work together,” must be understood in light of God taking action in the world. He is the one who causes all things to work together or, perhaps, works in and through all circumstances toward a specific end. What is that end? “Good.”
The word “good” does not necessarily mean happy or painless or financially successful or our idea of the best possible outcome on any given day. God’s ultimate good for us is to glorify us in eternity (Revelation 21:1–4). Beyond that, God works in and through us toward an ultimate good that serves His purpose for the universe.
The comfort of the verse is that nothing in this life of waiting and suffering is wasted. It is all meaningful for those in Christ, even if that doesn’t diminish our pain in the moment.
Romans 8:18–30 talks about the participation of Christians in the everyday suffering experienced by all of creation. We all groan together as a woman in labor while we wait for God to reveal His children. As His children, we are waiting for the Father to complete our adoption by redeeming our bodies so that we can be with Him. God’s Spirit helps us in the season of waiting by taking our unformed prayers to God. We trust that God uses every circumstance in our lives for His purposes and that He has chosen us long ago to be His children.
Romans 8 begins and ends with declarations of the Christian’s absolute security before God. There is no condemnation for those in Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love. Having believed the gospel, we now live in the Spirit of God. That allows us to call God Abba Father. We suffer with Christ, and we suffer along with all creation while we wait for God to reveal us as His sons. With the help of the Spirit, we are confident that God is for us and loves us in Christ