“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
I can’t understand or know the details of my greatest good. I am very small, and all of creation and time is too much for me to comprehend. Yet I still try to understand it all. I am tempted to ask endless strings of unanswerable why’s. I suppose they are not unanswerable, only the answers are incomprehensible in my little mind.
Demanding to know what I want to know when I want to know it is incredibly arrogant, and it is an attempt to put God, the creator of the universe and author of all life (including mine) under my feet. It is the creation demanding the submission of its Creator. While there are many things I do not know, there are two things I do know which make all the why’s insignificant.
1) God is good and I am not. God is infinitely righteous and holy, and I see my own wickedness in contrast. I am bad to my core. I see it clearly in my gut reactions.
2) I belong to God. Though I have become worthless, God didn’t simply overlook my sins; He has already punished Christ instead of me. My sins were not overlooked; they have already been paid for. And I have not only been adopted, but I have been born into God’s family. I now belong to God forever.
God is good; I am not. And by His grace, I am in His gentle and unyieldingly persistent hands.
So what is God’s greatest good for me? He wants to bear His image in me. It is restoration to my original purpose which I have ignored and rebelled against my whole life. Living for the creator of life is true living even if my body dies in pursuit of Him. It is that I will be turned from chasing death and chase after life no matter how painful it seems at the time.
My greatest good is not to be pain free and comfortable, or disease free and healthy, or to have all the money I need, or all the food I need; my greatest good is to learn the sufficiency of God’s grace and for my heart and soul to cling to the eternal Giver of Life.
If God is good, and I belong to Him, then I can trust that He is after my greatest good. Sometimes this comes through pain and other times through pleasure. And many times the pain seems disproportionate, so I find myself thinking that God is cruel. Of course, that is only because I don’t understand my sinfulness or the extent to which I chase after death daily, hourly, or even minute by minute, and I don’t understand how much my gracious, loving Father does not want that for His children.
For His children, God’s grace, because of Christ, is found everywhere: in pain and pleasure, friendship and loneliness, and wealth and poverty. God loves His children very much and has promised from before the beginning of time to conform them to the image of His Son.
One day, things will be restored and perfected. None of this is in vain. God works all things together for the good of His children. Do not waste your pain on hopelessness and fear, but use it to cultivate hope and faith. God actively cares for you minute by minute and by His grace gives you all you need for every moment to become a lover of Him, and He gently and persistently steers us away from death toward life.