Living the Good Life!

Roman 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. 

Ahhhhh, I love the good life. Give me the love and harmony of my family; a successful and fulfilling vocation; financial independence; leisure time for long vacations; admiration and respect from many; the love and appreciation of many friends. 

When these things come our way, we readily say, ‘God is good.’ 


Our God is infinitely Good. 

God is good. Together we affirm this statement. We agree with it. We speak it to others. We stand upon it as an affirmation of our faith. 

Acts of lovingkindness are the expressions of His goodness directed toward us always and continually. He knows what we need far better than we do. 

God is good. Until He isn’t.  


Why do bad things happen? 

When bad things happen to us, we become conflicted. When we experience sorrow, we stumble mentally in our attempt to reconcile the bad things happening to us with a God who we previously affirmed as good.  

We believe He’s always good. Good all the time. So, why the bad stuff? 


Help me make sense of this? 

Perhaps God doesn’t cause the bad things in our lives. Perhaps it is Satan causing it all. Perhaps it is not God’s will at all that we have any pain or grief. Perhaps it’s the result of a sinful world and/or the influence of Satan. 

If God is absolved in my mind of any responsibility for my pain, then maybe I can reconcile this conflict. If He isn’t responsible for the pain I am experiencing, then I can still believe He’s good. Yea, that’s it. I’m going to believe that God has nothing to do with pain, sorrow, disease, conflicts, difficulties, etc. 


Sounds good, but… 

But hold on…. if He isn’t responsible, this presents me with some other problems. 

  • If He has no responsibility for causing or allowing my pain and sorrow, then He has no power to fix it. Why then should I pray to Him? 
  • If He has no responsibility for our pain then He has no power to prevent it. Why do we pray to Him to protect us? 
  • Maybe He didn’t cause my pain, but He allowed it. If He has the power to allow it then what’s the difference between the power to allow and the power to cause? If He can allow it then He can prevent it. 
  • Just like we affirm that God is good, we also affirm that He is Sovereign. But if He isn’t responsible for our pain, then He’s not truly Sovereign. He has limits to His Sovereignty. 


Our passage for today, Romans 8:28, is very clear. There is no confusion as to what it says. 


And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. 


  • The statement of Paul is directed toward Christians; to those who love God and are called by God for God’s purposes. These are the recipients of the promise. 
  • The verse uses the word ALL. The subject of the promise is ALL the things that happen in our lives. Not some things, but all things. 
  • The descriptive word of the promise is that all the things that happen to us are GOOD.  The meaning of the word is that all things are inherently and intrinsically good. 


The passage is clear when we sit and read it in our Bible. But it gets a little muddled in our heads when life hits us with pain and sorrow. 


The good, the bad and the ugly 

I’m not sure how you view it all, but I know I fall short of perceiving and believing that everything that God brings or allows in my life is good.  

Here’s what I do — I perceive what God gives me as a mixture of the good and bad. He gives me a mixture of: 

  • Sometimes blessings (good) and sometimes difficulties (bad) 
  • Healing and pain 
  • Joy and sorrow 
  • Acceptance by some and rejection by others 
  • Pleasure and pain 
  • Happiness and grief 


I divide what God gives me into two primary buckets: Good and bad. Healing is good. Pain is bad. Happiness and Joy are good. Sorrow and grief are bad.  

I’m sorry to say but that’s the way I perceive it. I divide it and parse it out as good and bad.  


There’s no bad with God 

But God calls it all GOOD. He causes and works out all things in my life as good. He works it all out to fulfill His purpose for me; and His purposes are always good. 

The promise of goodness is directed toward us who are called by and for His purposes. 

I divide them into categories. God sees blessings and difficulties, healing and pain, my pleasure and pain and my happiness and grief as GOOD


How can bad be good? 

Then Paul defines what good is in the next verse following Roman 8:28. Verse 29 defines the purpose of God in working all things out in our lives for His good. 


For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… 


His good for us, in all things that happen to us, is that we would be conformed to the image of His son. 

The reality is that God uses all things, whether we feel them as good or bad, to grow us, sanctify us and make us like Jesus. 


Father, You are a good God. You are filled with kindness, mercy and grace and you lovingly direct all that You are toward us. You love us and want nothing but good for us; You are wise to know exactly what we need; and You are all powerful to make it all happen, according to your perfect will and purposes. We trust that you are careful to bring into our lives only what we can bear and only what ultimately fashions us after the image of our wonderful Savior. In Jesus we pray, Amen!