In Romans 8 Paul wrote: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, emphasis added). When Paul taught that God causes all things to work together for the good of His people, he meant even the hard and painful things: the distresses, infirmities, losses, troubles, and hardships of all kinds that God allows to affect the lives of His people.
It can be very difficult for us to come to terms with sufferings and losses that our sovereign God allows to affect our lives apart from any wrongdoing of our own. However, it is precisely these sufferings that are for believers a share in the sufferings of Christ. These are sufferings that God allows and actually ordains that we are to endure as part of His plan for our lives, and they manifest themselves even as we walk in obedience to His word. These sufferings will be realized in our lives in the ways and in the measure that our sovereign God determines for each of us, and they will
achieve for us a share in Christ’s eternal glory.
Even if we should find ourselves suffering as a consequence of our own wrongdoing, we as believers can take great comfort in knowing that all things will be made to work together for the good of those who love God.
Such sufferings are for us the discipline of God, which serves to separate us from our sin and restore us to obedience so that we may be useful in His service and fruitful (Hebrews 12:1-13, 2 Timothy 2:19-21). As those who have been called to faith in Jesus Christ according to God’s eternal purpose, we have been given the blessed encouragement and promise that every circumstance and condition of our lives will be made to work together for our eternal good and glory together with His Son.
Paul encouraged us again regarding the troubles of our present lives when he wrote: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all
comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Our troubles may seem anything but “light” to us, and they may persist for years or decades, making them seem far from “momentary”. But Paul taught us that the measure of glory that will be achieved for us through these troubles will far exceed the weight and burden of the troubles themselves. And when considered from the perspective of the eternal, all of our troubles are indeed momentary.
Paul comforted us with the understanding that God our Father has our future glory in mind in every circumstance and situation which He allows to affect our lives. He could not have written this had he not understood that all things, even the sufferings of this present life, are working together for the good and future glory of the child of God. Paul encouraged us again
regarding the sufferings we endure when he wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18).