Friday, December 19, 2008

The redemption of Romans 8:28

Not that it needs it, redemption that is; but the use of the Verse tends to come at terrible times, and it gets truncated, twisted and becomes trite.

The New American Standard Reads:

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

Which makes me wonder if the people who use the first part, you know when something terrible happens in your life, and someone comes up to you and says, "Well, you know, God makes everything work together for good", actually have ever read the whole thing from the Bible at all or if they've only ever heard it from other people at awful times in their own lives so they feel obligated to perpetuate the sick to your stomach feeling it causes. I've always wanted to say "Really? Thanks for telling me that I should be pleased that tragedy has struck."

Instead, it should be used to inspire hope, when things are looking up but you're going through something complicated, so that we can continue to strive to be doing what God has called us to, to make sure we are in it for His purpose and not merely for our own individual glory. When handing out verses to people when they've had their heart broken, we need to remember to really know what the verse means. THE WHOLE THING, not merely part a, and sometimes you even have to use the preceding and follow up verses to make sure you're using the verse in context!

A friend of mine who has been praying for my husband and I as we've been plugging along on our path to parenthood sent me an encouraging note with this verse attached to it, and for the first time, I felt like it was given to me in an appropriate manner. It meant something to me. Yes, I am struggling, but I'm not in grief, I'm prayerfully contemplating my role in a situation that is indeed difficult. And I'm in a calm enough place to look at everything happening as a multifaceted issue that looks like the inside of a clock, with all its little cogs and sprockets working together to produce an outcome. That outcome is important to me, it will affect my life, it may change my life completely, or it may be something that changes me and prepares me for a different situation. But whatever the outcome, I have been able to see most of the factors working together to produce the outcome of this situation. It is indeed an awesome and encouraging verse when it's used in the proper context!

Dear Lord, Thank you for Deb! Thank you for her commitment to praying for me and for my family. She is such a blessing to me. Thank you also for Beth and Nathan who've committed to spending time in prayer for my sake. I pray that you will bless them as they have blessed me. Their support has brought me peace and I'm overjoyed to feel calm in my heart. Thank you for your unending Love, Grace and for your Gift of salvation to me. Help me to have courage in the weeks to come, let my tears show in joy and not in fear. Thank you for Romans 8:28, thank you for beginning to show me its true meaning.

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