Romans 8:28 (NKJV) says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”.
It’s easy to imagine that verse is reassuring us that if we just believe in God, everything will be fine.
But many of us will know it doesn’t work out that way. Whenever we have problems or struggles in our life, does that mean God is breaking his promise to us that if we follow him, we’ll be ok?
Dr Andrew Corbett is the President of ICI Theological College. Talking to Neil Johnson on Vision’s 20Twenty program, he explained that problems are a normal part of life. But because of the fallacy that being a Christian will solve all your problems, he’s seen a lot of people become confused and disappointed in the Church and in God.
Dr Corbett pointed out how children often believe their problems are huge and insurmountable, but their parents look at them with more maturity. “Oh poor thing, they’ll think. In a few years’ time, they’ll look back on this and they will realise that this is not a problem at all.”
When it comes to problems, he says we’re often a lot like children ourselves. “At the time, we think oh my goodness, how on earth am I going to get through this? And then we hang in there. We keep walking with God.”
Dr Corbett says when things go wrong, we shouldn’t shake our fist at God, but open our palm to God. “And some people say how could I possibly believe in the God of the Bible when I’m going through all this? And my response is how could you possibly not? Why on earth would you want to go through the problems and difficulties of life without God?”
It may be that context is the key to understanding that promise that “all things work together for good”. A few verses earlier, Romans 8:20 (NKJV) says “for the creation will be subjected to futility”.
“Futility is troubles. Futility is cancer. Futility is relationship strain and breakdown. All of those things are problems, and life is characterised by those. And it’s much better to have God in your corner, helping you to get through those difficulties.”
Dr Corbett also suggests that some of the problems we face may have been ordained by God. Now this is probably going to invoke all kinds of people to send me nasty emails. But I think, as we look back on life, and the problems that we’ve faced in the past, we can look back on them now, and go ‘thank God I went through that’.”
Problems may also arise because we aren’t seeking God’s wisdom. “We might begin to skip Church. We might stop tithing and giving. We might stop daily Bible reading. And then suddenly the wheels begin to fall off. We lose all of the wheel nuts of life. Problems sometimes help us to get our priorities back in right order.”
Dr Corbett also mentioned the example of Joseph, who suffered incredible trials including being sold into captivity by his brothers, then falsely accused and thrown in prison. “Yet, God used his problems to prepare him to be a grand solution. If he hadn’t gone through those problems, ultimately he couldn’t have preserved what would have become the nation of Israel from which Jesus the messiah would come.”
In his conversation with Neil Johnson, Dr Corbett also discussed the many testimonies from people in hopeless situations where God has intervened to solve their problems. To find out the difference between a miracle and a blessing, and why sometimes a blessing helps us more, listen to the audio below.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times and more interviews.