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. (NIV)
This is one of the most quoted passages in Scripture. However, the power attributed to the working of good in all situations is God. In many translations, it actually says that God is working good. However, if we look at the original language, it is translated a bit differently.
For example, in the KJV, it is translated as ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.’ This creates a significant change in our focus during Hellish moments.
In this version, it is not God working good in the middle of the situation. Instead, the love that a person has for the Lord orients them to every situation so that the goodness of God is able to manifest through hardship. One translation focuses on God’s action toward us while the original language focuses on our actions toward God. It seems like a very small difference, but I believe it is the difference between overcoming all things rather than being overcome.
It is our loving God that creates the positive out of the negative. Certainly, it is the power of God, but it is our love for Him that releases this power. The original language focuses more on our love for God than God’s power working on our behalf. For the negative and difficult times in life to be used to work good in our lives, we must be loving God in that situation.
How do we do this?
Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. His commands, the Word, direct our behavior toward a loving posture. Our heart must also be in it, but in this passage, obedience is pivotal.
We are tempted to forsake some of the commands of God when life stinks. For example, we are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances. This is love. Without finding a reason to be thankful and staying in that thankfulness, even in hardship, we are not loving God. Instead, we are restricting the power of God to use the pain for our good.
God wants to work all things for our good, but our focus in these moments must be how well we are loving Him as we go through these dark moments.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to love You better when I am hating my life. Amen.