Bible Reading: Romans 8.28-30
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. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8.28-30
When I was in high school, there was one class that completely defeated me. Algebra 2. How you could draw a curve on a graph based on a mathematical formula was a mystery that I could never comprehend, even to this day. I tried, I struggled, I asked for help, all to no avail. At the end of the semester, I walked away with the lowest of all possible passing grades. My grade was a gift from the teacher. I certainly didn't comprehend the subject well enough to have earned the grade.
Paul here broaches a topic that can be equally daunting in our human attempts to understand God. This text tells us that God has this plan in place, and we are all a part of it. It also says that whatever happens is all a part of that plan, and that it is all for our good. Does that mean that Billy Graham was predestined to be a great evangelist? Yes. Does that mean that Adolph Hitler was meant to be an evil dictator? Yes. So then, how does that square with God's desire that all men and women would come to a saving belief in Him? Predestination can be such a scary and complex concept, but I think we have to rely on perspective to help us.
This is the part that gets complicated. If God calls little Joey, and Joey exercises his free will to say no to God, does God have to adjust His plan? No, because God already KNEW what Joey would decide. God's foreknowledge has to go hand in hand with His omnipotence and His omnipresence.
Here's our problem. It's hard for us to comprehend the ugly things that happen in this world, especially when those things happen to believers. We tend to view circumstance as we see it, because that's the only way we CAN see it. We see the poor economy, the loss of jobs, as well as the spiritual decay in our country and find it difficult at times to see God's hand at work. For folks that have to deal with the loss of a spouse, or the loss of a child, it's especially hard to see that as good. For me it's like the algebra example. I will likely never be able to understand it, but that doesn't mean that the math is wrong or invalid. It just means that my brain can't handle it.
In the same way, our finite brains trying to understand the infinitely complex and intricate working of God and His plan are almost as laughable as it would be for you to watch me attempt to solve an algebra equation. So what do we do? Remember the part of perspective? The answer is simple. Acknowledge that God is who He says He is, and trust in Him implicitly and completely. We are to rely on God and trust in Him in all of our ways, and He will direct our path. You see, we don't have to fully understand God. We can't. For me it's enough in knowing that He loves me, and has called me to be His very own.
Weekly Memory Verse: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28.19-20