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(August 20, 2001)
God's Revealed Purpose
By Fern Horst
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
This verse has been a great encouragement and comfort to me many times throughout life. So many times we don't understand why things happen the way they do, or why God allows certain things that He could so easily have prevented.
Just recently I was praying about a medical concern, something I knew the Lord could so easily heal without further medical intervention. Others were praying also. When it became evident that I was going to need further medical care which would also involve more expense, I asked one of my friends, "Why didn't God just take it away?" My friend's response was, "Perhaps God has a reason -- someone you are to meet at the doctor's office, or something like that."
It turned out that it seems God did have a purpose. Through someone I encountered in the doctor's office I received a renewed message of God's love for each individual, not because of anything we have done, but because He created us each uniquely and has a special purpose for us. It was a message I needed to hear, and hadn't even realized how much I needed to hear it.
God truly does work everything together for good. Not everything that happens to us is part of His original plan. The presence of sin and evil brings about conditions and events which God never intended. Sickness is one of them. The wonderful thing is that although evil is not from God's hand, in His Sovereignty God is able to bring good out of that very evil which Satan meant to destroy us.
The verse following this often-quoted one reveals more of God's purpose and plan, and further explains what the "good" is which He is intending to accomplish:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
The ultimate good that God is working together in our lives is conforming us to be like Jesus. Everything in our lives may not work out just the way we had planned: marrying at 23 and having three children by age 30, or having a doctorate by the year 2001, or retiring by the time we are 40. But all of these things are earthly goals. God has eternal goals in mind for us. Goals which we will care far more about 100 years from now than the ones we think are so important now.
We have the promise that, no matter what Satan may use to try to destroy us (perhaps even our own earthly goals), God is continually bringing it all together for good as we yield ourselves to Him. After stating this wonderful assurance, Paul declares:
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
© 2001 Fern Horst
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