Many people are familiar with the phrase, “it will all work out in the end.” But what does that really mean? What if you just got a bad diagnosis or lost your job? Does it mean that your medical condition will turn around, or that you will get a better job? Reality tells us that not every sick person is healed. And, sometimes people who lose a job don’t get another one for a very long time while the bills continue to pile up. Does everything work together for good? And if it does, how?
“All things work together for good” verses
This exact quote comes from the Bible, found in Romans 8:28.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ESV
So to put it another way, “it will all work out in the end”. People like to hang on to this thought in order to be optimistic about their circumstances. But this promise is not for everyone. It is specific for those who love God.
Other parts of Scripture express the same thing.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 ESV
” … for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ” Isaiah 61:3 NIV
Examples of everything working together for good
Various Biblical characters faced difficult situations which eventually worked together for good.
Joseph saw everything work together for good
Joseph was hated by his half-brothers. When he was 17 years old, they plotted to kill him. but instead, sold him into slavery. Once in Egypt, he was falsely accused of sexual harassment and rape. That landed him in prison for a long time.
All of these hardships put Joseph in the right places at the right time to become a great agricultural leader who made a plan for the storage of surplus grains. When drought and famine hit, people did not starve to death. But this “everything works together for good” did not come about until years after his brothers sold him.
God had a plan and it all started with a teenager being sold into slavery and a prison sentence. Everything worked together for good.
You can read Joseph’s story in the Bible in the book of Genesis, chapters 17-50.
Job saw everything work together for good
Job was a man of God. He was wealthy in terms of money, animals, servants, and a large family. He had everything anyone could want. Then everything fell apart, and I mean everything.
Job lost his wealth, herds, home, family, and finally his health. He suffered much physically and emotionally. His faith was tested as he went through something that most of us will never experience.
In the end, Job’s faith was stronger. He was healed and was restored financially and emotionally.
(disclaimer- this story is not about if you have enough faith you will be healed. When Jesus walked this earth, He healed some people, but not everyone. Even one of His best friends was not healed.)
God had a plan and it started with a man losing everything. But everything worked together for good.
You can read Job’s entire story in the Bible in the book of Job, chapters 1- 42.
Paul and Silas saw everything work together for good
Paul and Silas landed in jail for preaching about Jesus. If you live in North America, our prisons are like a hotel compared to the Roman prisons 2000 years ago. Yet these men prayed and sang songs, knowing that they likely could be executed. Instead, an earthquake caused the prison doors to open.
Fearing for his own life, the guard prepared to commit suicide. You see if a guard lost a prisoner, he would be executed for poor job performance.
Paul and Silas could have escaped but chose to stay for the guard’s sake. Because of their great compassion, the guard trusted Jesus as his savior that night. And yes, Paul and Silas were set free due to a technical error.
God had a plan and it started with two men in jail. Everything worked together for good.
You can read Paul and Silas’ story in the Bible in the book of Acts, chapter 16 verses 25-40.
Esther saw everything work together for good
Esther was a beautiful Jewish teenager that was taken from her family by a king looking for a wife. In choosing Esther, the king did not know that she was Jewish. She was part of a huge group of young teens who were kidnapped for the king’s pleasure.
The King’s Plan
The king was deceived by a member of his court and plans were made to kill all the Jews in that region. A date was set and the clock started ticking.
Esther still had contact with her uncle who urged her to go before the king and ask him to reverse the death sentence for the Jews.
Esther’s difficult decission
You would think that meeting with the king wouldn’t be a big deal since she was his wife. But in those days, no one, not even wives, could initiate a meeting with the king. If he happened to be in a bad mood that day, he could have ordered her execution. It was a risky move.
Esther was “between a rock and a hard place” as the saying goes. Through much prayer and advice from her uncle, she chose to risk her own life by going to the king uninvited. Why? This is what her uncle said.
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:15 ESV
Many of us have moments “such as this“. We sometimes have to make difficult choices, not knowing what the outcome will be.
Esther was able to save the Jews. God had a plan and it started with a young teenager who was kidnapped and likely sexually abused.
Sometimes we just have to trust that God knows all about our troubles and will make everything work out for good.
You can read Esther’s entire story in the Bible in the book of Esther, chapters 1- 10.
Jehosophat saw everything work together for good
Jehosophat was the fourth king of the nation of Judah. Surrounding nations formed an alliance against them. It was a sudden offensive that completely surrounded Judah. If things went as expected, Jehosophat and all his people would have been destroyed.
What choice did these people have? I am sure they were trembling in fear. It would all be over once the light of day came. But God had a plan and Jehosophat trusted God. He prayed,
“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12
The next day God gave victory to Jehosophat’s tiny army over the “great horde” that came against them.
I have often prayed Jehosophat’s prayer. “Lord, I can’t change what is happening and I don’t know what to do. But you know and I trust you.”
You can read Jehosophat’s story in the Bible in the book of 2 Chronicles, chapters 17 through 21.
Modern-day examples of everything working together for good
There are so many ministries that were born out of tragedy. Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic since she was 17 years old. Elisabeth Elliot’s husband was murdered. But God had a plan. He has used their horrible circumstances to help thousands of people worldwide. Even what you are reading today is the result of two unwanted divorces. God makes beauty from the ashes of our lives. His plans are good.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
How does everything work together for good?
God makes everything work out in the end in order to accomplish His purposes.
So what does that really mean?
We may or may not see our circumstances change. But if they don’t, things still will work together for good. We can become better people and help others because of our less-than-perfect experiences.
Our physical bodies may or may not be healed. If they aren’t, it will still work together for good. If we love God when we die, we leave behind all pain and suffering to enter the presence of God in heaven. Even Jesus in His physical body still had to die, but it worked together for good. His death and resurrection bought salvation for all who would put their trust in Him.
We live in a less than perfect world with less than perfect people so many tragedies happen. Nonetheless, tragedies will work together for good for those who love God.
When we are in the middle of the storms of life, or just fender-bender auto accidents, it is hard to imagine that these things will work together for good.
We need to remember that God always has a plan. Best of all, His plans are good. Does everything work together for good? Yes, they do for those who love Jesus.
If you don’t know Jesus, you probably have questions. The people at Chat About Jesus have answers. You can text, call, or chat with them online any time of the day or night.