And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those we are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)
It’s one thing after another! It’s just one of those things. To be in the thick of things. These are common idioms which work their way into daily dialogue. We like to refer to “things” in a rather unspecified way. Paul also mentions multiple “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… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28-32, 37-39 (NASB)
“All things to work together for good… What then shall we say to these things?… Will He not also with Him freely give us all things?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer…”
Let’s look at verse 28: “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” This speaks of certainty: “We know…” Paul does not say, “We think…” or, “We hope…” The verse also speaks of completeness: “all things”. Not most, not some, but all. It speaks of cause: “God causes all things to work together for good.” He is in control of both the painful and the pleasant experiences of life and has an eternal purpose in mind. It is difficult for anyone to orchestrate several different events at one time – try patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. But God controls all of the events in the life of every believer. Jesus said:
Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now. Genesis 50:20 (GW)
Paul said that we are “more than conquerors” “in all these things”. Most of us have the idea that victory occurs when we are living lives that are free from troubles, afflictions and heartaches. But Paul tells us that “in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us”.
What are “these things”? “Tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword.” Tribulation is to be squeezed or to feel pressure. Distress is literally ‘a narrow place’. It means to be hemmed in by one’s circumstances. Persecution is suffering inflicted on us because of our relationship with Jesus. Famine is a lack of necessary resources. Nakedness is a lack of proper clothing. Peril is the threat of imminent danger. Sword is the threat of murder. Paul tells us that in or amid all these things, we “are” (present tense) more than conquerors and the only reason that we are victorious is “through Him that loved us”. It is not circumstantial. It is relational. So, how’re things going?