It’s all good. Or, is it?
Culturally, we’re hung up on the concept of ‘good.’ Companies like Yoplait and Life is Good hinge their slogans and even their very name on the word. Our vernacular employs it to connote anything that is positive, pleasurable, or profitable. It’s become an arbitrary or generic term for anything we like.
In a world virally-infected with sin, where disease and depravity run rampant, can the simple phrase ‘it’s all good’ possibly bear truth? Children are abandoned or abused; families stagger under the weight of poverty the world over; natural disasters and accidents wreak havoc on life and livelihood. These can hardly be described as ‘good’, can they?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8:28
This verse is the inspiration for the name of this website: Eight Twenty-Eight. As mentioned on my About page, I chose it because I routinely quote this verse to myself as an audible flash-card, to train myself in the mindset of knowing that God is both good and powerfully at work in the lives of His people.
According to Vines Expository Dictionary of the Bible, the Greek word for ‘good’ (agathos) as it’s used in Romans 8:28,
“describes that which, being “good” in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect.”
When the definite article ‘the’ precedes it, as it does in Romans 8:28, it
“signifies that which is “good,” lit., “the good,” as being morally honorable, pleasing to God, and therefore beneficial.”
Isn’t that a game-changer?
Beneficial in its effect. For our benefit. The benefit of becoming more like Christ.
My father died of a brain tumor when I was nine years old. I spent thirteen years not just grieving, but shaking my fist in rage at God for allowing it. Surrendering to my need for a Savior and trusting in the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ brought the healing I desperately needed. As a Christian, I reap the reward of this promise given to believers. I see how He has brought beauty out of those ashes: I have offered comfort to those with similar losses, I value my husband’s role in the lives of my children much more profoundly, I rejoice that I have a Father in heaven, and I responded to the plight of the fatherless in bringing home my sons from Russia.
When viewing present circumstances, it requires lenses of faith to believe that what we endure now will benefit us later. Our vision is limited; we think only in terms of this life, and often merely of our comfort in it. Yet all that befalls us has passed first before the Throne of God, and He has allowed it (though He cannot cause evil). He is fitting us for heaven with every experience, shaping our characters into the likeness of Christ, ones that can trust and praise Him in all circumstances.
The horrible injustices we observe or experience aren’t ‘good’ in and of themselves, but rather ‘good’ in the effect they produce, even if we don’t see that fruit on this side of eternity. That which another intends for evil, God repurposes – redeems, if you will – for good. (Genesis 50:20) For the believer, all things can be used by God to render us into greater likeness to Christ. From this eternal perspective all things are, therefore, good.
This knowledge doesn’t make our earthly sufferings easy to endure; they are not simply overcome with those words. In the darkest hours, I return to the first part of Romans 8:28: “And we know…” When I don’t feel that anything good can come of whatever I’m enduring, I have to lean on my knowledge of who God is and what His Word says.
And His Word says that He will. Someday… somehow.
In this world ravaged by depravity, my human eyes observe very little to be ‘good’ – much less all. And so, I yield. I yield to the knowledge that God is indeed sovereign, trusting that He can and will work all things together for the good of those who love Him. And thus I will trust that, “It will all be good.”
Dedicated to KP:
Thank you for your living testimony to this truth in your life.