– Romans 8:28
They Humble Us
Paul was a prideful man before God struck him down on the Damascus Road by blinding him (Acts 9:1-9), and for three days and nights, he ate or drank nothing. Fasting will certainly humble a person. Before this, Paul could boast that he “was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin–a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law” (Phil. 3:5). So what appeared to be bad at first for Paul worked out for his good–indeed, his eternal salvation.
They Make Us Dependent
Paul wrote, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Cor 12:7). Paul pleaded with God three times, but God’s answer to Paul is God’s answer to us sometimes: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Troubles have a way of keeping us from being conceited. In Paul’s weakened state, this “thorn in the flesh,” whatever it was, made him dependent upon God. Sometimes God may allow our own thorn in the flesh to make His power “made perfect in [our] weakness.”
They Point Us to His Purposes
In the verse cited here, it says, “… that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28), which means that good things work for our good, bad things work for our good, all things work for our good if, and I emphasize if, we “have been called according to his purpose.” If we’ve never repented and trusted in Christ, then all things, good and bad, still work out for His purpose, but outside of Christ, this purpose ends in disaster (Rev. 20:12-15).
They Make Us More Like Christ
In bad things more than good things, we are being made into Christ’s image, even as we “share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3), “for to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). This isn’t strange because “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), for it is since “you participate in the sufferings of Christ, that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13).
Everything that happens to us is never wasted. God uses it to work out for our best. Even natural disasters cannot shake us out of God’s purposes for our life. Even Joseph’s brothers, who lied about him, tried to kill him, and eventually sold him into slavery, worked out for his best and even for the best for those who hated him, for what is even meant for evil, God means for good (Gen. 50:20).