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"God Working All Things for Good" Doesn't Mean What We Think

  • Mike Leake Borrowed Light
"God Working All Things for Good" Doesn't Mean What We Think

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

Life has just dealt you a heavy blow. Your heart is sick because something you’d dreamed about and prayed about has been dashed against the rocks. You confide in a friend and get this advice…

“It’s okay, I’m sure God has something even better planned for you. Remember that Scripture says He works all things together for our good. He doesn’t close a door without opening another.”

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Some Things Aren't Replaced

Some Things Aren't Replaced

Bad things work out for our good. That’s a good Scriptural principle. But I don’t think that means what we think it means. I’m not confident that Scripture promises that if something really bad happens that God is going to turn it on it’s head and you’ll end up with an amazing material blessing in its place. Something’s aren’t replaced this side of glory.

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We Don't Always Get Back What's Lost

We Don't Always Get Back What's Lost

I suppose trite speech like that can be forgiven when we are talking about not getting a loan for our new speed boat. But it’s deadly when we are talking about the loss of a child, the end of a relationship, or other truly significant things. That’s why I appreciate the Puritans on topics like this one. They aren’t as influenced by our consumerist reading of the text.

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How Affliction Benefits Us

How Affliction Benefits Us

In his book, All Things For Good, Thomas Watson gives us ten ways in which affliction works for our good. I’ve summarized and modernized the language where necessary. Notice the focus.

  1. Afflictions serve as our preacher and tutor. “A sick-bed often teaches more than a sermon”.
  2. Afflictions are the means of making the heart more upright
  3. Afflictions conform us to Christ.
  4. Afflictions are destructive to sin.
  5. Afflictions loosen our hearts from the world.
  6. Afflictions make way for comfort. “God sweetens outward pain with inward peace”
  7. Afflictions magnify us by showing how God takes notice of us, by serving as a sign of sonship, and by causing us to be renowned in the world.
  8. Afflictions are the means of making us happy because they bring us nearer to God.
  9. Afflictions put to silence the wicked.
  10. Afflictions make way for glory.

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God's Greatest Concern

God's Greatest Concern

I didn’t see a houseboat or a prettier girlfriend in that list. And that’s because God’s greatest concern isn’t for our temporal comforts but for our eternal joy. This is a good thing. Our affliction does end up for our good. But if we’re convinced that this means on this side of glory God is going to take bad stuff that happens to us and give us a bigger blessings, then we’re going to end up calling God a liar.

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God's Goodness

God's Goodness

Some wounds likely won’t heal until you see Jesus face to face. But afflictions have a way of helping us see Jesus clearer even now. And this is why Watson can say that even now we experience the goodness of God in the midst of our afflictions.


Mike Leake is the Lead Pastor at FBC Marionville in Marionville, Missouri. He is currently pursuing his M.Div. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike is married to Nikki, and they have two children, Isaiah and Hannah. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeLeake.

See Mike's original article on his page, Borrowed Light.

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