A Verse for Any Trial
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.—Romans 8:26-28
Anyone who has been through a deep valley and rested on the promises of God has likely found and embraced Romans 8:28. Many point to these words as the anchor that held them to God during a time when every other security failed. Others have faced daunting challenges with these words on their lips. Here you too can find a verse for any trial.
Why is this passage so comforting? It begins with the words, “And we know.” We don’t merely think; we don’t merely wonder. We know. “The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses” —God helps us to know! We may not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes. And the more He intercedes, the more we become aware of the will of God and that we're “called according to his purpose.” God probably won’t tell us how and when He will work things together for good, but the promise we have is that He will.
The word know communicates experiential knowledge—the kind that comes from life. You didn’t go to church, college, or Google to find this kind of knowing. You know because you’ve been through the testing, and God’s Spirit has confirmed what you have learned. This knowing isn’t something you feel. Things don’t always feel in the moment like they could work together for good, but time will prove His character. This is one of those tried and definitely true pictures in God’s Word about how He works.
Only God’s children—those who have turned from their sin and embraced Christ by faith—understand the great promise of this verse. Only those who have tested the promises of God, and proven once again His faithful love, really know.
Have life’s difficulties caught you off guard? Do you wonder if God is good? Are you puzzled over how a frustrating, hurtful, or shocking development could possibly contribute to anything good? Stop looking at the circumstance—get your eyes back on God. If He wasn’t going to use that circumstance for your good, it wouldn’t have happened. He has to sign off on every single thing that touches your life. That’s not to say He wanted it—God is not the cause of evil, but He is the solution. He’s the master chess player who takes every move we make and strategizes the next move to ensure His purposes are accomplished.
The ultimate good of Romans 8:28 is not “your little blueprint for your life.” The ultimate good is God’s blueprint for the universe and your place in it. Being on board with God’s objectives means understanding this is not about you. It’s about His glory, and what happens to you isn’t all that crucial in the big scheme of things.
God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him; for the good of those who are the called according to His purpose. Believe it. Wait for it. He will show you.
What are some past circumstances in your life that may have been hard, but God really worked for good? In what situations are you waiting to see how He works right now?
Lord, I realize as the apostle Paul did, that I do not know what to pray for as I ought. Thank you for Your Spirit’s constant intercession on my behalf, bringing up to You my groans, confusion, willfulness, and repentance. I believe, and yet I need Your continuous help with my unbelief. Thank You for insisting that I pray, even when I’m overwhelmed with my failures. Thank You for encouraging me as I come empty, and You fill me with Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.