Unexpected Good
 
We know that all things work together for good to those who know God, who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28, NRSV
 
This verse from Romans is one of those well-known but often misused passages. Unfortunately, it has often been used to justify the saying that “everything happens for a reason.” However, notice that Paul doesn’t say that God makes everything happen for a reason or that whatever happens is part of God’s will and plan. Instead, this verse powerfully declares that no matter what happens, however bad things may be, God promises to take all of our hardships and difficulties and transform them into something good.
 
In other words, God doesn’t give his children cancer. He doesn’t cause people to commit murder. God’s will is not for someone to perish in an automobile accident. Yet, even in the midst of these terrible circumstances, God has a way of miraculously using them for good, even when it seems impossible.
 
As I look back on the most painful experiences in my life, I can see how God used them to bring about something good. In fact, the difficult experiences in my life have helped to form and shape me into the person I am today. As Christians, we recognize that sometimes horrible things happen. They are part of living in this broken world, but we also recognize that those awful things never have the last word. That’s what Jesus’ resurrection shows us. Death is not the end. God always has the final word. The late Billy Graham summed this up by saying, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s going to turn out all right.” 

The Rev. Chad T. Martin
Vicar