God Orchestrates – Yesterday I was listening to a song that reprised a singer/songwriter that had passed away. The end of the song fascinates me. The tempo began to wind down, and off-key notes began increasing with each repetition until, finally, the song ended, leaving listeners somewhat unsettled. It was a fantastic performance.
In Romans 8:28 (ESV), we read this oft-quoted verse, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
I like “Barnes’ Notes on the Bible” for Romans 8:28. He says:
All things – All our afflictions and trials; all the persecutions and calamities to which we are exposed. Though they are numerous and long-continued, yet they are among the means that are appointed for our welfare. Work together for good – They shall cooperate; they shall mutually contribute to our good.Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Romans 8:28 In Action
We find a contemporary example of Romans 8:28 in Paul’s letter to Philemon. In this book, we see Paul’s plea for Onesimus, a slave that ran away but volunteered his time to Paul. And, in Philemon 1:15-16 Paul is in the middle of laying out his argument for Onesimus’s defense.
“For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”Philemon 1:15-16 (ESV)
It’s a bit unexpected to read a saint such as Paul say “perhaps,” presupposing but not sure how to precisely state this situation. Paul knew “all things work together” for he wrote that by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Even Christ’s closest followers are confronted with situations where it isn’t clear why something happened. Nevertheless, the faith they had in Jesus compelled them to declare the good from the confluence of events that affected their lives.
So often I fall back on the metaphor of a symphony for each of our lives. Within a symphony there can be valid movements when some instruments play off-key, creating discord within the music. When done correctly, you can’t imagine the symphony not having that discord. All the parts work together. And that’s how God works with us. God orchestrates all the good, the bad, and the ugly for our good. And that’s good news.
Photo credit: Bart Heird on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND
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