God's Plan Is Perfect
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
My mom loves to work with her hands. All around our house hang pictures she made by cross-stitch. Before she starts any cross-stitching project, she always makes sure that she has all of the different colored threads she needs. In order for the picture to turn out right, she has to use black thread when the pattern calls for black thread, and red thread when the pattern calls for red thread.
You can think of your life like one of the cross-stitch projects my mom makes. If you were watching my mom cross-stitch with beautiful red thread and you hadn't seen the pattern you might wonder why sometimes she stops using red and starts using black thread instead. In the same way, you might wonder why God takes away the "good things" in your life and lets "bad things" happen instead. Why is your sister sick? Why did your father lose his job? Why did your family have to move to a different city?
In Isaiah 55:8-9, God tells us that His thoughts and ways are much higher than yours. Sometimes, you don't understand God's plans. But whether God is using a red thread or a black thread in your life, you can be confident that He knows what He is doing! Romans 8:28 promises that you don't have to worry about whether or not your situation will work out right; you don't have to worry, because you can know that it will work out for your good! My mom has to use many different colors of thread, but in the end the picture turns out right. God knows the picture He wants to make with your life, and He uses many different things some you may like, and some you may not like in order for the picture to turn out just the way He planned.
If you want to know what my mother's cross-stitch will look like when she's done, you can look at her pattern. But can we see the pattern God is following? We can! Jesus Christ is the pattern, and God is changing us according to the pattern that Jesus made with His life. (That's what the next verse, Romans 8:29 says.) So when Paul says that God is working everything out, he doesn't mean that things always turn out the way we want them to. Instead, Paul is saying that we will turn out the way God wants us to!
Is there something going on in your life that you don't understand? Do you trust that God, Who is sovereign, knows what He is doing? Or do you blame God for not always giving you "good things"? If you are a child of God, you can be sure that He will work all things for your good according to His perfect plan.
God uses everything in my life to make me more like Jesus.
» What situation in my life do I need to trust God with?
» How could God be using this situation to make me more like Jesus?
Truth In Real Life
“Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
John Bunyan was born in England on November 30, 1628. He was sixteen years old when England was going through a civil war in 1644. He became a soldier. One particular afternoon, young Bunyan was suddenly called away from his post. A fellow soldier took his place and was killed shortly thereafter. He would likely have died as a teenager if this soldier hadn’t traded places with him that day, and there was no doubt in his mind that God had something important planned for his life.
Like his working-class family before him, Bunyan grew up learning the trade of a tinker, or a brazier – someone who mends pots and kettles. When Bunyan got married in his early twenties, he and his wife were very poor (she had been an orphan). All they owned were a couple of Christian books which her father had left her before his death. They both treasured and read the books often. Bunyan, especially, was influenced by what he read. He was realizing that his current lifestyle and choices were wrong.
Eventually, because of this conviction over sin, he trusted Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Lord of his whole life. With the changes in his new lifestyle came also the desires to preach and to share the Gospel. God’s grace had made such a difference in his life!
John Bunyan became a preacher at a time in England’s history when preaching outside of the state church’s approval was considered a crime. The leaders of the day believed that rightly-preached doctrine would start a rebellion. Bunyan kept preaching, anyway. He felt compelled to share the Gospel of grace.
He was convicted of preaching against the law and was sent to prison for twelve long years. This was a painful time of constant separation from his wife and children, and they remained impoverished, since there was not very much Bunyan could do from his prison cell to bring in money.
He did do a lot of thinking and writing while he was in prison. It was during this time in prison that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress – the greatest Christian allegory ever written. An “allegory” is simply a story told with word pictures. Missionaries everywhere still translate Pilgrim’s Progress into the language of their people to share this story with those they wish to win.
Do you think it was difficult for John Bunyan to know his family was suffering in his absence? Do you think he wondered sometimes whether God was really taking care of them, or whether he had made a mistake? Have you ever read Pilgrim’s Progress and learned a little more about how to understand the Gospel through its allegorical stories? Do you believe that God can use the difficult circumstances in your life for His greatest glory and for your greatest good?
Romans 8:28 – 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.