Friday, March 7, 2014

LVR828 - All Things #lifeverse #romans828

Do you have a life verse? How do you define the term? I imagine there are lots of ways that you could. It could be your aspiration, something you hope to make your focus in life - going forth and making disciples or clothing yourself in compassion. Or it could be something you consider a part of your testimony, once lost now found, blind now see, beauty for ashes or the like. Or perhaps a life verse for you is more a cornerstone in the foundation of your faith, something God has proven to you that you hold onto in difficult days.

I suppose I have different essential verses that would fit into all three of these categories that I hold dear to, but I have been thinking a LOT lately about one of my first life verses that would fall into the last category, because it's one I find myself not only holding on to, but also speaking forth and sharing with others on a pretty consistent basis.

It's a popular verse from the 8th chapter of Romans. And for a girl who came to Christ broken and heavy under shame, guilt and anger, riddled with bitterness and hopelessness, it was one God proved to be true very quickly in my life.

For we know that He works all things together for good for those that Love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

I'm proud to say I wrote that all down from memory, but just in case it's not perfectly quoted in my words, I can assure it is completely understood in my heart.

God showed me very quickly how he can take the worst, ugliest and hardest of a person's life and use it to bring something powerful and beautiful forth. In my case it was the sin, pain and loss of abortion. He used it to bring me, first of all, to Himself. I get a catch in my throat as I type that - thinking about the girl who was so lost, and the way He orchestrated the details of my life to bring me to His cross so that I could lay down my burdens there and be washed clean. He Healed my wounds, and restored so much to me. I know things about God and His redeeming work to the very depth of my bones, deep in my soul because He kept that promise in my life.

But I realized something recently, as many years have wandered by since I first discovered that verse and gripped to it so tightly. Somewhere along the line it took on a little different meaning, a more worldly interpretation even.

I'm sure you have heard it said by those who don't even know Jesus that "Everything happens for a reason." It's this open ended sort of declared hope that even bad things will eventually get better, or that maybe they'll even prove to have some sort of purpose.

Honestly I think it's a little like a hail Mary pass on a football field. It's said like it's thrown up with all one's might hoping it lands in the right place and maybe even gets run for a touchdown. And I realized that a lot of my "holding and sharing" of this verse has had the same kind of feel lately. Like tossing a balloon and hoping it floats.

Then the other day I was thinking about the verse, and the Holy Spirit quickened mine, and I heard it again. That verse isn't saying "everything happens for a reason" at all. It's very clear for us as believers, God works ALL things together for GOOD.

GOOD is a simple word, and one we all know the meaning of. But the thing of it is, when GOD says something is GOOD (like he did in the stages of creation) it's unquestionable. IT. IS. GOOD. That's incredibly exciting to me.

It's not instant, it's not immediate, but it is ultimate. And it's a guarantee. God has made the promise, and He always always always keeps His promise.

We cannot disregard the verse that follows vs 28. God makes it clear that the good in all things DOES have a purpose and that's to make us more like His son, but that's an enhancer to the Truth of verse 28, not fine print that alters it. It's not God's escape clause. It's just the "and guess what else" in the matter.

So I want to encourage you that if you, like me and mine, are facing difficult and hard things, hold to this promise - not with anxiety or hail Mary hope, but with confidence and assurance. God can be trusted to keep His word, and so if you love the Lord, He will keep His word, and even the worst of the worst in your life, He will work for your good.

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