I stood with tears in my eyes. My heart broken into a million tiny pieces. Shattered in what was to me the largest shattering of all time of any human heart ever. I could feel my face burning and my lips quivering. Hundreds of words swirled in my head, but I stood speechless. At that moment my world was shaken. You see, I was being accused of things that simply were not true. Falsehoods. My character battered and by individuals whom I deeply trusted. By people I looked up to in the faith. This was my safe place, the church. This was my family, the body of Christ. And I had no way to defend myself in that moment. Horrible and hurtful words coming from another human being pointed directly at me laced with guilt and shame, piercing straight to my heart in arrow like fashion, piercing, piercing, piercing. My only defense was to bury my head deep into my hands and sob.
That was the ending of an era for me. My faith was shaken – hard. At that time, I honestly wanted little to do with the church, the body of Christ, the local assembly – in my mind – I was done. But God, in His sovereignty. In His faithful pursuit of my heart. In His gentleness and long suffering. He pulled me close and just loved me. Right were I was. Sitting in a puddle of pain and anguish. His Words became life to me – and through my suffering, my loss, my broken heart – He taught me this great lesson.
If Paul, who penned these words to the Roman church after leading a life that actually turned people away from God’s plan can record these words – we might want to listen up. And once God captured Paul’s heart and intersected his path to destruction do we really read a story that is filled with rainbows and unicorns and confetti parties thereafter for Paul? Or does he speak from a place of experience having endured great heartache, suffering, abandonment, rejection and physical harm when he penned the words of Romans 8:28 declaring with confidence – God is causing all things to work together for our good!
Oh, I can rejoice when the joyous occasions of life are displayed before me. I can celebrate all things when they are going as I envisioned and according to my plan. Hallelujah parties – let’s go! Sign me up for the amen-corner when health, happiness and hope abound. But, surely He can’t work in all things when someone else makes a choice that greatly affects my faith? What about being deeply hurt – by His people? Can this be for our good? Can God really use a lifetime of wrong turns and detours? How could He ever turn my broken heart and a battered life into something for my good?
I dare say, If you have ever asked this question of God. If you have ever pleaded and begged for an answer as to how or why the pain comes – with your clenched fists waving towards the sky and your eyes swollen from the weight of your tears. This is your door to truth. Keep walking. Lean into those heart wrenching questions. Be curious about God and He will reveal the answers to you.
If His Word is a lamp to our feet and the light to our path. If we believe that His Word is the sword of the Spirit and that God is truth and in Him is no lie. I can only turn to the constant unchanging and proven paths laid before me in this book of life.
Joseph was a prisoner and God worked all things together to make him a prince.
Sarah was a barren woman and God worked all things together to make her the mother of nations.
Moses was ineligible to speak and God worked all things together to make him the most convincing negotiator of all time.
Ruth was a widow and God worked all things together to make her the Great-Grandmother to King David.
Jonah was afraid and ran from God’s call, yet God worked all things together to bring salvation to an entire city through him.
Paul was a religious Pharisee who killed followers of Christ, yet God worked all things together to make him the most influential minister of the Gospel we’ve ever known.
And perhaps our greatest proof of God working all things for our good is in the resurrection story of Jesus Christ. And through the resistance of man to receive the greatest gift ever offered, Jesus was placed on a cross to suffer and die, yet we know that God worked all things together to bring Him to life in a glorious display of victory and triumph – in the face of the biggest defeat ever – death. He resurrected what was broken, defeated and dead and He offers the same result to us in all things – Life!!!
That even when our world is falling apart in front of our eyes. When we’ve been wronged, hurt and feel the weight of defeat settle in. When loss, abandonment and neglect tell us we are finished. When the doctors hang their head as they enter the room to deliver the diagnosis. When we find ourselves running from the very God who is reaching to save us. When we’ve messed up – really messed up – and we are ashamed to show our face to the world again. It’s for our good. It’s the climax of His plan. It’s the bridge that connects our weakness to His strength. It’s all in His plan. It’s the hero stepping up to save the lost.
He takes it all. The broken, the bad, the good, the questions, the gray areas, the doubt, the fear, the joy, the suffering, the celebrations and He paints a beautiful portrait that only He can paint. He is shaping and molding us into the good. In His way. Through His plan. The Gospel on display – resurrection power proclaiming life over death in every circumstance.
So let’s not throw in the towel when we have a bad day. Let’s not give up when our fleshly desires take us on a path away from God. Let’s not take ourselves out of the game when our teammates hurl hurtful words our way. But let’s trust completely in the God of Romans 8:28 knowing that each and every circumstance is working together in His great big plan for us. Casting all of our cares and anxiety on Him. He cares for us! Let the feelings that manifest be the conduit that point us straight to the mender of our broken heart. And may we rest in the truth of His Word – the truth of Romans 8:28 – when Paul from experience reminds us – God is using it ALL. We can agree in absolute confidence with Paul – Yes! Yes, He is!
And as I look back on the season when I held my head in my hands and sobbed with broken heart and fear of defeat. The moment I thought I could never live again. When shame and regret nearly took me out of the game. Hallelujah!!! His plan prevailed. This is not a story about hurt, this is a story about healing. This is a story of how He is working it all for the good. Only now can I see how God used ALL of the brokenness to redirect my perspective and point me straight back to Jesus Christ. He pointed me straight to Life. My hero. The restorer of my soul. My Living Hope. The Lifter of my head. The Way. The Truth.
And I rejoice knowing that through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ He has once again worked ALL THINGS together for my good and for His Glory. Amen!