"The One Thing We Can All Have In Common"
“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.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
As I read her email, my heart felt heavy. She had endured so much pain in her life, none of which she deserved or caused.
Then I read another email. And this person’s story was completely different, yet the pain and heartache of her life seemed unfair, too, and more than one person should have to endure. Then another email. Then another.
Countless emails sat in my inbox — each one saturated with intense emotion and vulnerable honesty. All sharing a different experience and a different level of hurt, shame or regret.
One had been physically abused. One was betrayed. One battled addiction. One divorced. One had been sexually abused. One struggled with fear and anxiety. One had chosen abortion. One had been unfaithful. One had a serious disability.
The list was long, and every one of these women had something in her past that once made her feel insignificant, void of value and unlovable to God. Yet, despite their different experiences, all these women had one amazing thing in common, which stood out loud and clear.
You see, each one had allowed God to transform her pain into purpose, and as a result, their lives now shine as a living testament to the power of a Holy God. Each one had watched God turn something difficult into something that would glorify Him.
Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (NIV). This verse reminds us that no matter what has happened in our lives, or what we have or have not done, God loves and values us unconditionally.
Later in that same chapter, in today’s key verse, we read God not only loves us, but has a plan and a purpose for our lives — not despite our past, but because of it.
Paul experienced pain and suffering through various forms of persecution: imprisonment, beatings and rejection. He spoke from the wisdom of his own experiences and exemplified the transforming power of God’s ability to turn any mess into a message.
Paul encouraged believers to embrace God’s promise that He can use all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, not only for God’s good, but also our own.
Regardless of how difficult our pasts are, as children of God we have a commonality in Christ Jesus our Savior: God will use for good what the devil intended for evil. When we allow God to use our pain for a purpose that glorifies Him and ministers to others, we enjoy the blessing of spiritual healing and transformation like never before.
No matter how different our prior experiences, we can still have one precious thing in common. We can each choose to live as proof of the power of Jesus to change a life. All things truly can be used for the good of those called by Him.
Lord, I’ve always felt I couldn’t be fully loved or forgiven because of my past and that maybe You had no purpose for me. Help me embrace the promise of Romans 8:28 — of Your love and plans for my life. Help me discover the amazing purpose You’ve ordained just for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” (NLT)
Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (NIV)