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)
I got a fun gift for Christmas that put a huge smile on my face. Being known as Polyanna among some of my co-workers for my belief that good will be in or come of all things, I was given a book. It’s not a religious book, but I love the idea: Evidence the World is Basically Good (A Logbook for Optimists). I have exercised poetic license and used a Sharpie to revise the title, which now reads Evidence God is Always Good. And I am already recording my observations.
Our Ugandan friends love to exchange greetings, and a popular one in church goes like this:
Pastor: God is good.
Congregation: All the time.
Pastor: All the time.
Congregation: God is good.
Together: Because that is his nature.
That’s essentially what Paul is telling us in this reassuring verse. In other words, as we close this year, we can look back at mistakes, problems, or hardships of the past year (or years) and hand them over to God with anticipation for his redemption. In fact, those very concerns that could otherwise have finished us can become a spiritual investment for future growth. How will his Spirit work to transform me through this learning? We can embrace failure, even regard past personal sins as reminders of how much we need God’s keeping power and how insufficient we are without him. This is just another opportunity to actualize humility and his grace.
And throughout the coming year, we can trust God to work in our lives as we abide in him, serve him, and love him. Ahead of us lies glorious possibility as we move into the New Year with Christ.
Father, in your presence is fullness of joy, and there are pleasures forevermore at your right hand. Thank you that you have the power to transform circumstances and situations so that good does come from them. You can even change us for good through the circumstances. We look forward to what you will be doing in 2016. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.