It’s important to get your theology right isn’t it?  Get it right and live by it.

This morning in our meeting we were singing a chorus centred on 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.”  The song is Nothing Shall Separate.  It’s a lovely song that has been really helpful in my worship since I first heard it and the verse has been special to me ever since my wife underlined it in my bible 24 years ago and told me to live in the truth of it.

It’s a truth that has deepened in significance as life has gone on – and all the more so over the past couple of years.  Why?  Because when you go through really tough experiences it’s verses like this one that you re-examine and hold on to. 

It’s all too easy to throw this out as a gentle platitude to people when they are in a difficult time – as if knowing this makes everything right again.  It doesn’t.  The truth of this verse does not diminish the pain of our experiences, the suffering caused by our own sin or the sins of people against us.  They are real and sometimes incredibly difficult to process.

The verse doesn’t say that everything that happens is good.  Not everything that we experience is good.  We mustn’t under-estimate the damage that can be done by suggesting otherwise.

And it’s not an excuse to live badly – the idea that we can do whatever we want and it will turn out all right in the end because God will make sure it does as though we are, “godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality.” Jude 1:4.  Or that the fact that God works good into our lives, that He continues to show us grace, in some way justifies our own sinful choices and decisions.  It doesn’t – that He does continue to show grace is a testament to His goodness, not ours.

But the verse is an assurance that all the wrong that we suffer, all the pain and hardship, all the repercussions of sin (whoever it is perpetrated by), all the damaging  blows life, people and the enemy throw at us, are used by God for our good.  That doesn’t make life easier.  I’m not sure it lessens the blows.  But it does give us hope and it does give us grounds to be thankful.  And when we can look back and see exactly how God has used those experiences for good, it gives us a great story to tell.

Maybe one day, I’ll tell you more of mine.