"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." --Romans 8:28
My mother gave me this verse as I lay on a gurney in an emergency room after my first (and only) serious accident. (I have had a few fender benders since then but PTL, I was not seriously injured). I'm not sure that 19 year old girl really believed her at the time. In fact, there would be a lot more situations in the next few years in which she would give me that verse. But, being the headstrong, rebellious young woman that I was, it would take still many more years to see how God took all the things that happened and worked them for good and continues to work them for good AND give me beauty for ashes.
As the years go by there are different words in that verse that have new meaning for me. In the beginning the words that resonated for me were "things work together for good". I must admit to thinking it was some sort of magical formula that only God knew and somehow he took all the things that happened to me and made them good. It never occured to me that some of the things "happening to me" might actually be a result of my own sin. Don't worry He cleared that up for me and He used my experiences to help others who were venturing down the same wide path.
Later, when I felt deep remorse for my sins and repented for the things I had done He showed me that He would take "ALL things" and work them for good. He is still teaching me new things from those years and working good from them. Once more, He gives beauty for ashes.
Lately the words "the called according to his purpose" and "those who love God" are what I meditate on. THE called. Not just plain called. Many are called but not all respond. That little word "the" carries a lot of meaning with it. THE called. Those who respond to His call and surrender their lives to His purpose. Those for whom He can work out His purpose. He has a purpose for us all, the question is will we surrender to it? It's always good. Never second best, or sorta good. And the surrender, if I love Him won't I do that? He sacrificed His Son and all He desires from me is to love Him. To surrender to Him so that He can do ALL the good He desires for me.
God is so good (all the time!). Good seems like a highly inadequate word to describe what He does for this poor sinner. When I look at my life thus far I am amazed at His protection, provision, comfort, mercy, grace, and most of all His great love for me. He takes "all things and works them for good to those who love God, to the called according to His purpose." I'm so glad that when He called I answered. And I'm so glad He called.