January 8, 2009
Courage in Troublesome Times

Romans 8:28-34

Recently, two Chinese women shared their father’s story with me. He was arrested in a roundup of house church members and given a choice—deny Christ or go to jail. The man spent 20 years imprisoned for his faith.

I was moved to tears by this brother’s godly testimony. He understood that God was in control of his life, and that realization gave him the courage to please his Father regardless of the repercussions.

Romans 8:28 teaches that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love [Him].” But relying on that guarantee gets tough when we’re in the midst of trials. The first few words of the verse—“And we know” (emphasis added)—provide a hint about how Christians trust the Lord to keep His promise. We face adversity courageously when we make a habit of finding the Lord’s fingerprints on prior situations in our life.

While God causes good to come from our experiences, He doesn’t necessarily initiate them. Psalm 103:19 says, “His sovereignty rules over all” (emphasis added). Other forces are at work in the world, but the Father’s power reigns supreme. Satan may touch our life with pain, but only because the Lord lets him do so. And He gives permission only when a situation fits His ultimate purpose.

Regardless of the tragedies we face, God’s commitment remains the same—He makes good out of bad just as He has always done. Paul knew the promise was true, and so do I. Examine your life for evidence of the Lord at work, and you will be assured as well. 

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