Six Things I’m Thankful About (Part 3)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30 ESV). ay Three: I am thankful for faith. Our reading today is my fallback position in life. It is where I am drawn to gather strength for every step I take in the journey God has given me. I’ve done a little research concerning where our reading is placed in its importance to the Christian. In one list of “The Most Important Verses for a Christian to Memorize,” Romans 8:28 nearly doesn’t make it. It comes in tenth. I can tell you that this verse is never very far away from my consciousness. It is a mainstay for my journey. Through all the challenges, failures, and set-backs of life this message is the basis of my hope and security. John Pipe calls the following verses of Romans 8:28 “the Himalayan Peaks of Biblical promises (cf. Romans 8:30-31). However, God’s staggering pledge of verse 28 is that “all things” — not just the good, but even and especially the bad — work for our good. Life’s worst pains are for our eternal joy. All things is a massive phrase. It’s universal, all-inclusive, with no exceptions. It doesn’t take much to believe that life’s best things work for our good. But what makes this verse such a life-transforming promise is that this “all things” includes all of life’s worst things – every single one. Every stab of pain, every barb, every lingering scar is just construction material for God to make something good for us. And if we want that with specificity, it’s here in the context (cf. Romans 8:35-36). There the apostle lists life’s greatest pains — none of which can separate us from Jesus’ love: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, and even death (“regarded as sheep to be slaughtered”). No, in all these things, God is working for our good, not just giving us victory over these pains, but making us “more than conquerors” by having life’s greatest pains serve our everlasting joy. I am thankful for that kind of faith. It keeps me from being overcome in...

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