This week’s reading is in Romans 8:28. This is one of the great promises of the Bible. Over my years of reading the Bible, I have chosen this to be one of my ‘life’ verses. “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.” This is one of those ‘all inclusive’ statements that are found in the Bible. It means there are no exceptions. Notice that it does not say, ‘most things.’ It says ‘all’ things! This means everything that happens to us can be used by God to bring about good in our lives. This is easy to accept and receive especially when it comes to the good things that happen to us. But what about the bad things that happen to us?
Since we are living in a broken world it is inevitable that we will all experience some difficulties that are difficult to handle and hard to understand. We may face a challenging sickness, a stressful relationship, financial difficulty or some other demanding situation. How good it is to know that we can take every situation to God and ask Him to fulfill this great promise in our lives. He can and will bring good out of it if we let Him. It isn’t always what happens to us that determines our future but how we respond to what happens to us. If we will give God an opportunity to get involved in all of our life situations and ask Him to show us how we should respond or not respond we can be assured that ALL things will work to our good. Are you facing some challenging situations right now? Are you able to see God’s hand in it yet? If not, hold on and keep looking He will bring good out of it.
This week’s reading is found in Romans 4:20, “He did not waver at the promise of God.” This is the story of Abraham when God told him he was going to have a son. The challenge for Abraham was to believe God’s promise even though he was ninety-nine years old and his wife was ninety! Yet we are told that Abraham believed God was going to do what He promised and God did. Abraham and Sarah had their miracle baby, Isaac, just like God promised. I think there are times in all of our lives when God makes us a promise to do something that seems impossible. Maybe it is a healing from an incurable disease, or a marriage relationship being restored that seemed impossible, or maybe even conceiving when the hope of becoming pregnant was long lost. Whatever that promise is, the challenge for us is to act like Abraham, who did not consider that his own inability to bring forth this promised son would stop God. Somehow, he hoped against hope. He trusted that God was good to His word.
You may be facing some insurmountable obstacle right now. It might look hopeless to you because you don’t see how it is going to work out. Let me encourage you to look to God to turn it around. Don’t look to your own resources, God is able to do the impossible. It is His will for you to be healed, blessed, strengthened, encouraged, and victorious. He sent His one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross to purchase this right for you. Don’t waver at the promises of God.
I had always felt a call on my life to work for God. I just didn’t know what that actually meant. When I was young, in the 4th grade, I didn’t want to walk home after school so I waited with my brother and a friend at the library for his mother to come by and pick us up. We usually waited about 1½ hours or so. During that year I started reading books and came across a series of books about martyrs and saints. I read fifty of them in nine months. They really influenced me. I wanted so bad to be a SAINT. Being raised a Catholic I was taught that the only way you could become a saint was to be a martyr or live the life of a monk and then after your death miracles would be done in your name when people prayed to God in your name. Then the pope and cardinals would decide that you were a true saint and they would make it public and then people could wear medals and have holy cards with your picture on it for protection and help.
What a surprise and revelation when I read the New Testament for the first time after I was saved and read the introduction to the Epistle of Romans chapter 1:7, “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” Then I read it again in I and II Corinthians, and then again in Ephesians where Paul called them SAINTS. All of a sudden I realized that Paul was calling people who were alive, SAINTS. This was new to me, I always thought you couldn’t be a saint until after you died and were canonized. Then I realized that he was calling all the Christians in those churches saints. I looked up the word saint and found that it meant people who were set apart, dedicated to God. I realized that the day I was born again and dedicated my life to Jesus I became a saint! I remember putting the Bible down and crying, realizing that NOW I WAS A TRUE SAINT. This was my first true spiritual epiphany! I was a saint, Saint David, and I was still alive and I could dedicate my life to serving God, which I did with all my heart. How about you, are you a saint?
This week’s reading comes from chapter 27:21. In verses 9 and 10, Paul had warned the ship’s captain not to embark on the sailing journey. He prophesied that it would be too dangerous and that they would sink and many lives would be lost. The captain refused to listen to him and set sail anyway. He did not want to wait for better weather and now the ship was caught in a storm and was about to sink. Paul stood up and said, “You should have listened to me and not sailed…and incurred this disaster and loss.” Another way of saying this would be, “I told you so!” Then Paul went on to tell them if they would now listen to what he had to say, the ship would indeed be lost but no one would die at sea! Needless to say, they all decided to listen. The ship was lost but everyone survived and made it shore.
This is an interesting insight to how prophecy sometimes works. Many prophecies in the Bible are actually conditional. “If you do this, then this will happen.” Many of the Old Testament prophets told the people of Israel if they did not stop doing bad things God was going to judge them. There were times when they listened and judgment was averted, but there were times that they did not listen and God brought judgment. When the judgment does come it seems appropriate at times to say, “I told you so.” This is not to gloat over someone’s misery but rather to impress on the mind the importance of heeding God’s warnings the next time! The next time God gives you a warning through a prophetic word, take heed and obey what He is saying. That is much better than hearing “I told you so,” later after you suffer because of your disobedience!