One of the greatest promises in Scripture and the verse to which most Christians claim is Romans 8:28:
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.
– Rom 8.28
If we love God, if we walk in His salvation and under the calling of His word, we know that all things work together for our good. Perhaps not success or gain on the Earth, but everything will ultimately work out to our salvation and benefit eternally. God has a purpose for everything that happens. We even see a deepening of this promise in the next few verses:
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
– Rom 8.29-31
If we love God, He promises to glorify us in eternity. He will see us through to the end. And not only that, but He will support us and carry us, and though many might be against us, none will be able to ultimately stand. None can take us from His hand, none can remove us from His love, none can damn us to Hell. God is bigger and He is in control.
But there are some pretty ugly things that happen on this Earth. Murder. Divorce. Rape. Stealing. Adultery. Natural Disasters. War. In the book of Genesis, we have the story of Joseph, the eleventh of twelve brothers who was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. They wanted to kill him, but got rid of him. He served for years, was falsely accused of trying to sleep with his master’s wife and was locked up in prison. But ultimately God established him as the second in command over the entire country of Egypt. He later was able to provide food for his brothers when a drought hit the land. They, upon realizing who he was, were afraid that Joseph would kill them. But his response was humble and insightful:
But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
– Gen 50.19-20
There is a mutual responsibility at play. Joseph’s brothers had evil and wicked intentions and they sinned against Joseph. They will be ultimately held accountable for what they did. But God had it planned all along. He had a purpose in it, and it was to save the physical lives of many nations through the drought and also to establish the Hebrew people as a great and mighty nation. Joseph’s dad, Jacob, had twelve sons. Jacob became the father of all of the Hebrew people, and it was during their stay in Egypt that they multiplied.
What the brothers intended for evil, God meant for good.
What evil is happening in your life? Is someone against you? Is someone treating you wickedly or just poorly? Are you and your family being persecuted for your belief, the color of your skin, your political positions or social status? God is intending that for your good. For your holiness and sanctification and ultimately for your salvation.
I know it is hard. Believe me. When you are staring down hatred, discrimination, persecution or regular unpleasantness – embrace that opportunity to trust God. Remember that He has a purpose in it. Remember that He is using this very situation to make you more like Himself and to bring about your glorification in eternity with Him.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Phil 4.6-7
There is a peace that settles your soul. Trust Him. And chose to not sin in those moments, but to be obedient: to love those who persecute you, to serve those who hate you, to pray for those who revile you.