One of the most cherished verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28: “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.” This verse has been dragged into contemporary culture in the the shortened saying: “Everything happens for a reason.” Christians have often taken this verse as a promise that God will make everything turn out well for us. I believe that ultimately that’s true. But what about those who lost their lives as martyrs for the Gospel? What about devoted followers of Jesus who seem to go from one bad break to another?
There’s a catch to this promise. We don’t get to define “good.” Only God gets to define what qualifies as good for us. He probably has different ideas than we do. One of my favorite authors, A.W. Tozer, put it this way: “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it solves a great deal of anxiety.” God’s goal for your life and mine is to make us more like Jesus. That’s how God defines “good.” And He promises to use everything in our lives to move us toward that goal.