In the midst of life that is often difficult, trying and stressful, it’s easy to want to blame God for all the bad things that happen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been with persons who are dying from cancer after a lifetime of smoking, yet they ask, “Pastor, why is God doing this to me?”
St. Paul reminds us that in everything God works for good! It is not in God’s nature to do evil, or to cause evil to befall us—but He works only good for us. This means that in every bad situation God is at work to bring something good out of it. How depressing it would be to think that God is at work doing “bad” things—always dreaming up more and more evil to throw in our paths to try to trip us up in life. Talking to some folks, you definitely get the idea that this is their understanding of God—one who doles out good AND bad, willy-nilly.
But this is not the biblical testimony. In everything, God works for good with those who love Him. God is at work even now, trying to bring good out of the bad in your life. God is at work even now, trying to turn evil to good, curses into blessings, illness into health, death into life.
How encouraging it is, then, to know that God is at work to turn things around for us! Not sitting far off in heaven, watching us like little ants. God is intimately involved in creation, and in our lives, working for good. This is why Jesus came, and why Jesus was raised from death—to be with us always, even to the close of the age (Matthew 28). God does not abandon us, or leave us to the elemental spirits. Rather, God is here, and at work, for good, for you and for me!
Keep that in mind when life gets difficult and you face obstacles and trials. Know that God is with you, that God cares about you, and that God is working to bring about good in your life!
Almighty God, thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is with us always. Help us to draw strength from His presence, and assurance that you are always working good for those who love you; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Taken from Wendel, David, From Ashes to Easter, Ashes Lenten Devotional Booklet, North American Lutheran Church.