The Thought for the Week this week is written by Paul Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good..” (Romans 8:28 ESV) 

            This is a well known verse for many Christians and yet, is it so familiar that we have lost sight of it's full meaning? We understand that ultimately all will work out for us as Christians, that is a fundamental truth of Christianity, but what about the daily situations of life, do we stand on this scriptural promise then?

            It's always easy to believe this verse when things are going well, but what about in the dark days? What about when things in life go very wrong? I find a good way of beginning to understand a bible truth is to think of the extremes that are possible in life's situations and to try to apply that truth across the board (let me say here that it can be quite a sobering and difficult journey to think about the 'what ifs' we may encounter – be warned!). Let me explain...

            Ponder, first, the good times: things are going well. There is enough money, there is food, clothing and shelter, there is harmony with those around us, all things are working in our favour – there is no hardship at all. Easy to keep believing? Well, yes, but beware the temptation to forget God in the times of comfort and ease. We can trust 'in the flesh' all too easily and lose sight of His kindness, love and provision when life hands everything to us on a plate.

            What about when things go wrong, when life is tough and the impact of a situation shakes us to our roots? Imagine the death of that precious person very close to us, perhaps a child? Think of a terminal illness striking us out of the blue at a time when life should be opening upto us new and exciting possibilities. Think of a senseless act of wickedness ripping our lives apart (like those affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels) when loved ones are maimed and killed in a moment of madness due to a warped ideology that glories in killing innocents, or we ourselves find, in a split second of time, that someone else's wickedness or carelessness changes our lives forever. What about in situations like these? Are we still willing to believe that, “all things work together for good”? Are we even able to imagine for one second that God can turn these situations into blessings? Truthfully, it is beyond the ability of the human heart and mind to contemplate or imagine that that could ever be the case.

            To the human heart imagining good coming from evil is an impossibility. So, there must me a greater depth for us to discover here:

            True faith chooses to keep believing even when the darkness falls. Oh yes, there can be days, weeks or months of clinging on (as if by our finger nails!) without any assurance that God is with us, but there gradually grows within us a sense of light and yes, we can hardly believe it, a joy despite all our circumstances. The miracle happens when we hold-on in faith: instead of this shadow of darkness over us as it has been (whatever it is), faith in God brings us the miracle that turns things up the other way: our loving God is now shining down upon us and the shadow which was over us (still there, but of much less significance), is now under our feet. The miraculous change in our perspective means that our hearts are now free to praise and worship God. Our hearts are singing and joyful. The miracle we thought impossible has now taken place. We can hardly believe it ourselves. In addition to all of this, we are now in a place where we can bring God's love to others suffering in similar ways.

Helpful points:

  • Never look for a reason 'why' in evil – it doesn't exist.

  • Never ask, “Why me?” - you'll focus on yourself instead of God

  • Never blame God! God is love – in Him there is no darkness at all. Evil comes from the devil and is found in a fallen world. God is our help in the day of trouble.