“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
As I look back over my life since I was born in 1930, and born again in 1949, this verse sums up my entire walk of faith and ministry. According to the J. B. Philips translation, God fits into a pattern for good everything that happens to those who love God and are called according to His plan. I like this because by implication there may not be anything good about many of the things that happen to us. But if we meet two prerequisites – if we love God, and are called according to His plan – our loving God will fit into a pattern for good all the events of our lives.
Before we personally apply the great promise of this verse we must meet these two prerequisites. The first is that we love God. It isn’t easy to love God. The Apostle John asked us how we can love the God we cannot see (1 John 4). We can’t hug a Spirit. Jesus told us that if we love Him we must keep His commandments. According to the writings of the Apostle Paul quoted above, we can show we love God by being called according to His plan.
We are so self-centered we are quick to assume that the good into which God fits all the events of our lives means our good. However, when we understand what it means to love God the only good that will interest us will be God’s good.
Dick Woodward, 05 November 2010
Editor’s Note: Today, October 25th, is my father’s birthday. This year he would have turned 86. We are so grateful to God for the gift of his life and the way he pursued “God’s good” even when the circumstances of a debilitating disease pushed him into a wheelchair and eventually the confines of a hospital bed. The doctors were amazed when he made his 65th birthday as a quadriplegic. The fact that he was 83 when he died as a bedfast quadriplegic in 2014 is miraculous. But all who knew Dick Woodward can still hear his voice saying, “I can’t, but He can… I didn’t but He did.” (In other words, when Papa couldn’t do anything but nod his head, God did – the miraculous – in and through him.) Last I heard, the MBC is now in something like 40 languages (!)