PRAISE PROMPT ••• When it comes to Bible verses that bring comfort, Romans 8:28 has to be at the top of the list.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
It’s a verse that is often quoted when we don’t know what to say.
It establishes God’s authority and control, even when we don’t understand His ways.
But used in the wrong context, this verse can be misunderstood.
I admit I’ve quoted (or more accurately, paraphrased) this verse before when I didn’t know what else to say.
Does this sound familiar to any of you, “I don’t understand this either but I know God works all things together for good.”
There is complete truth in that statement.
God can take any bad situation and make it beautiful.
Isaiah 61:3a talks about God’s ability to make beauty for ashes.
It says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes…”
But in paraphrasing, I left out five critical words: “For those who love God.”
People these days have a great talent for cherry-picking what they want to hear and ignoring the rest.
As followers of Christ, we can’t fall to that temptation, especially when it comes to His word.
Whether intentional or not, if we paraphrase (because like me, you can’t memorize for love nor money) or take Scripture out of context, we run the risk of losing the intent of the message.
Consider Psalm 37:4 which says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” and John 13:14, in which Jesus says, “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
When we pair these verses up, as many like to do, we’ve just turned God into a genie who is going to grant us three wishes.
That’s not the way it works.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:21,23, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
That brings us full circle back to Romans 8:28 and the five keywords left out in a paraphrase.
God has great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and we’ve established through Romans 8:28 and Isaiah 61:3 that He can make good things come from bad situations.
But we have to know Him.
Have a relationship with Him.
Get out of the way, hand Him the keys, and trust Him to get from Point A to Point Z, even when we wonder if He’s using the wrong map (He’s not).
We can’t cherry-pick Scripture and mash up what’s convenient for us to hear.
Or rather, what we want to hear.
At the end of the day, His will always prevail.
And that’s something to praise Him for…
Because when the big picture eventually unfolds, everything is going to be clear.
We’re going to look back at various points on the route and say, “Now, I get it!”
Today, let’s praise God for all He does for His children.
Let’s be sure to ask the Holy Spirit too to help us when we quote Scripture, to always use it in the way it was meant.
And be grateful that He is always there to guide us, and give us wisdom and understanding.