God in His divine sovereignty allows the events of time to occur. Other times He is the direct causal agent of such events. In both cases He knew all along of the event and its outcome. In both cases He chooses to glorify Himself through those events as it is His sovereign privilege to do so. And He will use those events for His purposes and His glory.
Some of these events are brought about by our own hand; we can be our own worst enemies at sabotaging our lives. As well, we live in a broken world where others are allowed to make poor choices; choices which intersect our journeys. But God knew.
Most times when Romans 8:28 is volleyed, it is toward someone who has experienced a loss or devastation. It is unwise to assume that this beautiful verse is reserved only for those life-events that we would find negative, or uncomfortable. In reality, He uses favorable events and difficult situations to “work together for good.” In fact, as the verse affirms, “He causes all things…”
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NASB).
As we read in the first part of verse 29, the purpose is to mold us into the person He desires us to be… “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29). A step in faith comes with the expectation that the Lord is invited to work on another masterpiece–a masterpiece of redemption–us! We are His workmanship and must yield to the vision He has of us. We cannot, or should not resist His hand.
The perspective of Romans gives us insight that God’s sovereign right is to use that event, or life situation as a tool. We are, or will be the better for it, and God, as it is His right will receive glory–in the end–and along the way.
Today’s present course of national devastation and moral bankruptcy allows us to trust, to see God’s delivery from difficult times. Or, it allows us to see to consequences levied upon poor choices and behavior… And to choose the better way. Either way, we are to be willing to be the clay in the Potter’s hands, which is often difficult, and it hurts.
Yet, it’s all part of the process–to conform us into the image of His divine Son, Jesus. God uses His word, the preaching and teaching of His word to file off the rough edges of our depravity, and to build us up into maturity. He uses life events as the practicum of faith. And He gives the church to walk with us and to hold us up along our way.
The end result, given in Romans 8:29b-30, should not be lost, “so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
As you were chosen to be His before the foundations of time, He called you. As He called you, He justified you. And, as He has justified you, He has, and will glorify you!
Does it hurt? Yes. Does it take a long time? Yes. Is it welcomed? Often not, but we are the better for it.