Submitting to Trials

Romans 8:28-39, beginning in verse 28, Paul explains that we do not see or pray as we ought, but we do know an all-important fact.
For those who love God, the Lord sovereignly weaves the strands of every circumstance, every influence, every atom, or idea they encounter for the purpose of creating moral good within them as they mold into the image of Christ. This is only for those whom He has called to join His redemptive plan for the world.

When the Lord restores the universe, it will be even better than His original design. His restoration begins with people. In order to accomplish His plan in each of us, He orchestrates all things. The world’s destructive designs then become tools in the hand of the Redeemer who will turn them and mold them to accomplish His good.

If God uses evil for His purposes, does this mean He brings evil on His people? No way! God is not the author of sin, only good comes from God. The Lord merely allows humanity and the world to continue living as we choose, but never beyond His sovereign control.
Nothing will subvert or alter the plan of God. The destiny of each believer is what Paul earlier called “good” which he further defines as being conformed to the image of His Son.

In verse 29 Paul looks at the destination of our spiritual path.
God foreknew them. This means He knew them intimately through active involvement in our lives. Those God foreknew He predestined, He set apart. Those Jesus knew He appointed in advance to become like Him.
Those God predestined are called to believe and those who believe are justified. Eventually all believes will be glorified, to be glorified is to have both pure character and a body that cannot be harmed by the world any longer.

As the believer considers the course of salvation, we can’t miss the proactive role of God in bringing us along the path. Foreknew – predestined to be like Christ – called – justified – glorified. Because God proactively foreknew and predestined you to be like His Son, and then faithfully called and justified you, will He not be faithful to complete the final step?

Paul reassures you and I by asking 4 rhetorical questions.

Who is against us? No one!
There is plenty to oppose us in life like hardships and tragedies but what are they compared to the power of God?

Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? No one!
This is a legal question. I was summoned to court for a wreck I wasn’t in but it was still scary to be called into court. Since our debt has been paid in full by Jesus, we are untouchable.

Who is the one who condemns? No one!
I wasn’t afraid to appear in court based on my false summons because no one was able to condemn me, that’s us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? No one!
When we suffer afflictions, we wonder if the Lord still cares about us or even remembers we’re alive. Paul reassures the believes in Rome by saying that you may experience hardship from the world or even persecution from non-believers, don’t worry, that’s normal.


1. Rejection
Initially we refuse to accept the injustice of our problems and we throw ourselves into fixing it. The idea that this affliction might, in fact, be the sovereign plan of God is detestable.

2. Toleration
As circumstances drag on we begin to entertain the possibility that God may not miraculously intervene. Frustration eventually gives way to despairing sadness.

3. Wake up
Gradually we begin to see glimmers of God’s purpose. We gather scraps of joy here and there and, before we know it, our affliction has changed from an unwanted enemy to an indispensable part of who we’ve become.
Pastor Chris Williams
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