“One of my neighbors,” Stan began, “worries about everything. She was over for dinner last night, and it was nearly impossible to talk about anything that doesn’t worry her.”
“Such as what?” I asked.
“You name it,” Stan replied. “The economy, the environment, politics, health, war. If she’s not at the top of the list, she’s very close to being the most pessimistic person I’ve ever known.”
“Is she a Christian?” I asked.
“She professes to be,” Stan said, “and this is something that really baffles me.”
“How she could so misunderstand that the Bible means what it says,” Stan responded.
“In what way?” I asked.
“Well,“ Stan replied, “for a first example, in the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans it says God causes ‘all things’ to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to Hs purpose.”
Continuing, he added, “I may be wrong, but it seems to me that ‘all things’ means ‘all things’. If a person loves God and is called according to His purpose, it looks to me to be a done deal that all things will work together for good.”
“So,” I replied, “are you implying your neighbor may not meet the two qualifications of love and being called?”
“Not for me to judge on that,” Stan responded, “but one can wonder.”
“You said that was a first example,” I commented, “you have another?”
“How about where Paul wrote to the church in Philippi,” Stan replied, “where he used the same ‘all things’ in saying what he could do through God who strengthened him?”
“Again, it seems,” Stan continued, “there’s a qualification my neighbor may not meet and that’s why she’s so pessimistic.”
“What qualification?” I asked.
“Being strengthened by God,” Stan replied.
“How could a person be strengthened in that way?” I asked.
“Choose,” Stan said. “Just like everything in my faith walk, I have to choose. In this instance I think it’s clearly a choice to be strengthened by God so that I can do all things.”
Continuing, he added, “I have to choose to get my feelings of doubt, insecurity, and pessimism out of the way by giving them all to the leading, counsel, and help of the Holy Spirit. He is always ready, willing, and able to take care of them so I am strengthened as God intends.”
“And,” he concluded, “just to sum up, I think ‘all things’ means exactly what it says. It’s up to me to choose to have ‘all things’ work together for good, and it’s up to me to choose to be strengthened by God so I can do ‘all things’ through Him.”
“Kind of like,” I replied, “it being essential to understand that ‘all’ means ‘all’?”
“You got it, my friend! Sometimes it’s hard to do that, but hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for having all things for me, life eternally with you when it is time, along with the opportunity to know you and Jesus on this side of eternity as we draw ever closer in a personal relationship. Thank you for the truth of Scripture where it says you cause all things to work together for good. Please help me to meet the qualifications of loving you and being called according to your purpose. Thank you, too, I can do all things through you. Please help me in being strengthened to do those “all things.” I bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus and thank you for allowing me to do so. Amen.
Think on this: Do you believe that “all things” means what it says? If so, are you living your life as manifesting that belief? Why or why not? If it seems that all things are not working together for good in your life, could it be you need to look more closely at meeting the two qualifications mentioned in Romans 8:28 — loving God and being called? How about the part in Philippians 4:13 about being strengthened? Is God the source of your strength in all things? Why or why not?