April 28, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
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.
November 1982, was the beginning of a difficult time in our lives. I had an established business in the oilfield, but the bust had come to the oilfield. One month I had a good income, the next there was no income. After a couple of months, I was able to go back to work for a previous employer. However, because of the slowdown in the oilfield that job only lasted for about four months. We made the decision for me to go back to college. My wife had to go back to work. I worked part-time at a Love’s convenience store. The equipment owned by our business was sold for about a fourth or less of what it was worth. We sold our home, and after a year of college moved away from the area we had lived in all of our lives. A year later we were able to move back, buy another house, and start a new life.
I’ve learned that Romans 8:28 is true, but that doesn’t mean that the “all things” is going to be easy. In fact, it can be downright hard. But I realize that if our business had continued on as it was the hard choices of change would never have been made. It is possible, maybe even likely, that I would never have become a pastor and that my son would have followed in my footsteps working in the family business and never becoming a pastor either. In those months of change, I learned to swallow a lot of pride. I had to ask for a job from an employer that I had already left two times before and had been sure I would never return to again. But I did. Instead of being the proud owner of a business that was making a lot of money, I was cleaning toilets, making sandwiches, and being a clerk in a convenience store. We sold our beautiful home and moved into a much smaller place. But through it all we continued to pray, continued to seek God’s direction, continued to stay in church, and God led us through it all step by step.
The “all things” has not been easy for many of God’s servants. Consider Joseph in the Old Testament. He was nearly killed by his own brothers, but still was sold into slavery. Things were going well for him there in Egypt even in slavery when it suddenly got worse, again, when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison. However, from the very worst place he could be in Egypt, God raised Joseph up to be the second most powerful person in the known world. The “all things” in Joseph’s life were used of God so that his own family, the Egyptian people, along with many people from other lands could all be saved from the famine that God knew was coming. The “all things” in Joseph’s life were not easy, but they were necessary to bring about the end result of “good.”
If you think about it, Jesus experienced the ultimate in “all things” being difficult. Jesus came down from the glories of Heaven to be born into a family with few of the luxuries of what most of us are used to these days. The King of kings and the Lord of lords gave it all up to walk through the “all things” of being tempted at all points, and of experiencing the pains and trials of human existence. The “all things” of Jesus included suffering the torture and humiliation of execution on a cruel Roman cross. But the “all things” were necessary to arrive at the “good” of our having a Savior.
I don’t know what you are going through, but Romans 8:28 is true. Whatever it is, Jesus can help carry you through it, because you see, He has gone through even worse Himself. He knows what it is like, and He can help you to make it through the “all things” until you arrive at the “good.” So keep on step by step, day by day “looking unto the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1a).” Keep on going because eventually you will arrive at the “good!”