The other day I had an unusual dream in which I made the request that I wanted my brother back. A few years ago, my older brother, Scott, unexpectedly died. Scott and I were not the closest of brothers, as we didn’t chose to live in the same town so our kids could grow up together, nor did we didn’t call each other every week. Still I loved him. Having a brother that has passed away is a weird feeling that I probably still haven’t come to grips with. However, knowing he is dancing and enjoying his time in heaven makes it easier for me to accept.
I also love his wife and kids. While there is also consolation with them that Scott is happily living in the afterlife, their lives are more significantly changed. Everything for that matter is different. How do you really move on?
I got in a conversation with a reader last week on the topic of Romans 8:28 and whether everything really works together for good. Is everything really good? Will God really turn all things into something good? Can God really be good if He thinks this circumstance will ever be seen as good? And, if I buy into everything working for good, do I have a part to play? Are there any prayers to build your hope?
Every Circumstance Is Not Good
God may be sovereign, powerful, and omnipresent, but He doesn’t cause all things. He doesn’t make you sin. He doesn’t author terrorist acts. He doesn’t give you sicknesses. He doesn’t cause death. There are things that happen to us because we live in a world with sin. Evil’s existence doesn’t mean it is ordained by God. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). If it is not good and perfect, it doesn’t come from Him.
All Things Don’t All Work Out For Good
We have this promise in Romans 8:28, but when we look around we admit that not everything is working out for good. Even though there is a condition in the verse, we still know Christians that are not experiencing things working out. Maybe it’s timing. Maybe the something good is some virtue He is building in us. Maybe it’s just a lie. Maybe God is just a jerk.
Too often we belittle our part in the process. We hinder our prayers thinking God will work all things for the good, so I will just sit back and complain until my circumstances change. God gives us promises in the Bible to entice us to engage with Him in the process (2 Peter 3:9 & 2 Corinthians 1:20). Prayer is not telling God what to do; it’s standing in faith for the things God has promised while circumstances tell us He has forgotten all about us.
What Is Our Part In Making All Things Good
We will never see a change in our circumstances if we can’t see how it will change. Some people make decisions never to love again or never to get their hopes up again. Pain is real, but as Christians we need to believe that God is greater than our pain. It’s ok not to know how He will do it, but we must fight to get to the place where we say He is capable of turning all of this around. We are not like those that are without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12).
This is a hard time of year for many people. Christmas pushes us to have hope and an expectation of good. For those that have had hurts, renewing hope creates fears of empty promises. I want you to know that God understands. If this is all you can do, I suggest you tell Him each day, “I want to believe you can make all things good. Help my unbelief.”
Prayers for Hope
For those with a but more courage, here are some prayers to speed up the process of God making all things good. Say these daily until you see your circumstances change.
- God, You are infinitely good. You are all around me, and you have never stopped loving me. I choose to look for your goodness today.
- Lord, I don’t know how you will do it, but I thank you that you will make all things work for my good.
- [If you feel sadness over something] God, I choose to believe that you will even work this out for good.
- God, I thank You for giving me hope, the confident expectation that good things will come to me.
- I know You sent Jesus to die so I may experience every good thing. Nothing was held back at the cross for me, so nothing can hinder me from experiencing those good things. I believe every obstacle to that goodness will give way.
If these prayers have been helpful to you, please share them with your friends. Christmas is a time of hope, let’s spread so much around that everyone will experience a merry Christmas this year.