Aug 29

Do We Always See God Work Everything for Good?

So if God works all things together for good, does that mean in our lifetime we will see that promise come true?  Maybe…maybe not.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that God has allowed me to see firsthand how He has used my cancer diagnosis for good by giving me a worldwide ministry to cancer patients and their caregivers. However, I’m very aware that many others still are waiting to see that promise of Romans 8:28 come true.Our view from inside an earthly trial is limited and distorted. We often cannot see how what is happening could ever possibly be used as part of God’s good plan. And we must realize we may not actually get to see the “good” because it’s not coming until the distant future.  We have to ACCEPT that we don’t have the big picture.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely…” 1 Corinthians 13:12

But accepting that we don’t have the whole picture is not very comforting unless we also BELIEVE that a loving God does.

Some years ago our youngest daughter, Lindsey, who had just graduated from college (and as the daughter most like me, butted heads with me the most as a teenager), wrote me a Mother’s Day note that said in part: “I didn’t always agree or understand when you said ‘no’ to me, but I never doubted that you loved me.”

That’s what it means to trust. We choose never to doubt that God loves us even if we don’t always agree or understand when He answers “no” to our prayers.

However, just knowing these two truths—accepting we don’t have the whole picture and believing a loving God does—is still not enough. We have to CONTINUE to walk by faith and not by sight. Even if we’re not from Missouri, we humans tend to be “show me” people. We want to see first and then believe. I am an extremely skeptical person (which makes me a great newspaper reporter, but an annoying wife), and I always want the facts, the explanation, and the logic before I’ll agree with just about anything.

But the Word of God, my compass in life and especially in the storms, tells me that as believers we are different than others in this world because “we live by faith, not by sight.”[1] Or as another translation puts it, “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.[2]

I must constantly remind myself that I don’t need to see it all because God sees it all from the beginning of history to the end of time. As one writer explains: “Because we see only this sliver of time, we tend to view all of time through the same narrow and ill-fitting glasses. We forget that God is not bound by time. He exists outside of its minutes and millennia.”[3]

He and only He has the big picture. We move ahead not knowing for sure how–or when–it all will work out, but believing He does and will guide our way.

I don’t know how to say it any other way than we simply walk by faith.  And if we don’t have the privilege of seeing in this lifetime how it all works for good, we can be encouraged that we are not alone. Read the list of faithful heroes in Hebrews 11 and don’t miss verse 13: “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.” 

Remember the ABCs of trials: Accept you don’t have the whole picture; Believe a loving God does; and Continue on by faith and not by sight.

Adapted from 50 Days of Hope, copyright 2012  by Lynn Eib
[1] 2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV
[2] 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT
[3] Taken from a devotional published by the Outreach of Hope “God Keeps his Promises,” 2001.

Music video “Walk by Faith” by Jeremy Camp also available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygyOECYwd-4