Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)
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. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
The day I received Romans 8:28 in my spirit was not the best day ever. It was in the midst of a devastating trial. Fighting not only for a physical life, I was fighting for my spiritual well-being in the midst of it. The Word of God warns that we do not wrestle against flesh, but against principalities, against powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) Sounds like stepping in an ant mound, as the little creatures war against you biting and stinging as they go. It feels like that sometimes as the enemy attacks every single idea, thought and notion one might have about the Lord. The only recourse that one has in the midst of such attacks is that which we know.
To step in an ant pile allows for a short amount of time to get them off before they begin causing great pain. If I begin brushing them off, my hands are subject to attack as well. Stomping my foot may knock some off, but the quickest way is to get to a water source and wash them away. The tiny invading army can do significant damage in a short amount of time especially fire ants. They leave their mark. Bites swell, itch and burn as the toxic venom begins to get under our skin. How can something so small be so mighty?
When our boys were at home, they shared a room. I had my own version of “The Odd Couple”. I am dating myself by even mentioning the old sitcom about two gentlemen who were roommates. Felix was a type-A neat freak and Oscar was quite the slob. The line down the center of the room was clearly evident though not marked or taped off in any way. One dresser neat and organized while the other on the verge of exploding. Our son who was like Oscar was notorious for sneaking candy into his room which was a no-no. He would hide the papers throughout his side of the room. One night our Oscar-type son climbed into bed. Having already turned off the lights, he was unaware that in the course of the day ants feasting on his brother’s hoard had built a mound in the center of his bed. Yelling and screaming, he jumped out of bed battling the tiny invaders.
And we know… I knew that if we allowed the children to eat throughout the house that our home would be subject to many creeping, crawling things who would survive off the crumbs left behind. We had made it a rule not to eat in any room other than the kitchen. By choosing not to obey my directive, our son invited the invaders into our home and they made themselves home here. Oh Lord, how many times do we make the same mistake? Testing and trying your Word but never really believing it. What happens next is truly evidence of the Grace of God extended to all mankind!
When the Lord dropped Romans 8:28 in my spirit, I was a bit offended. He had promised me that our son would live and not die to proclaim the works of the Lord. Yet he was diagnosed with cancer a third time. How did this line up with His Word? I knew that I had heard His Voice without a question or doubt. Why was our life not lining up with God’s Word? It is in the testing and trying of God’s Word in our natural circumstances that the genuineness of our faith is revealed… not to the Lord but to us. He knows us. He created us. He died for us. Our heart, mind and spirit all lay as an open book in full illumination before Him. We have been given overwhelming victory in each moment of every day. It is our faith that allows it to be a reality.
So what is it that we know? We know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called to His Purpose or at least by faith we are supposed to. To know will change our attitude and actions in daily life. The enemy will rush in but by faith in the Word of God and what we know of God gives us the power to close the windows and bar the doors of our mind waiting and watching for His Word to come to pass. Impatience is our enemy. It must be firmly dealt with. We want our way not God’s Way. Disobedience keeps us from knowing pursing immediate gratification. Spiritual maturity is that which develops confident hope that will anchor our soul to faith so when trials and troubles come no one is set adrift wavering from faith.
Today I have a Word that God has placed in my heart. It has not come to pass yet. As I wait on the Lord and watch to see what He will do on my behalf, the enemy pounds on the door of my thoughts demanding access. He wants to come into my head and disrupt the firm foundation of faith that I am diligently building in Jesus Name. He wants me to surrender the far greater power in me to things like fear, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety and stress. All tiny invaders that bite at, tear away, and weaken my faith. I must take what I know and seal every hole and insufficiency of faith like an expert builder who fortifies the foundation of the structure so it will not fall.
Psalm 139:16 (NKJV)
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
Looking back over my life, I can see the Hand of God and His Mercy. There are many things that the Lord has worked together for my good. I am thankful. Yet, like you, there are many things I do not understand. I cannot fathom the Goodness of God in it though I try. However, after the ordeal of our son, I have a different perspective. I still hate cancer. I hate every cell of it that has sought to rob, steal and destroy God’s Precious People. Cancer did not change me. It did not destroy my family as hard as it tried. We changed. In our utter brokenness and devastation, the Lord made good on His Promise to be our strength in weakness.
Freedom of choice make consequences part of life. Sickness and disease are consequential of the original sin in the Garden. It has made its way through generations as the curse continues. I believe in healing – naturally and supernaturally. I think many Christians have forgotten. Every day of my life was written before I was ever born. God knew everything from the beginning even the many mistakes that I would make and acts of rebellion. He supplied everything I needed for life and godliness recording each day beforehand. If God already supplied what we need, all we have to do is find it. God’s Word is the most valuable resource that we have in discovering all the benefits that God has hidden in our life and that Jesus died for us to have. We must know that He foreknew us.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
God predestined you. There are no step children in Heaven only Sons and Daughters of the Living God. He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… in Christ. When we choose to answer the Call of God on our life and step into His Presence – we are fully accepted. I was told as a young Christian that God had a “Perfect” will and if we wander from Him that it aborts His Perfect Will and we can never have it again. If this were true than it would mean that Romans 8:28 is a lie. God does not lie or change His Mind. If you have given up on faith because you blew it, let me assure you that God’s Perfect Will is still available to you. He predestined us placing Eternity in our heart from the very beginning. You cannot tell me that an All-Knowing God had no idea I was not perfect and thought I wouldn’t mess up from time to time or even all the time. Of course, God knew. His Grace is sufficient because He completely understands my total weakness.
Predestination puts purpose in everything we go through in life because God knew beforehand and supplied everything we needed in advance. Wrap your head around that one and you will run into the Presence of God forever. Nothing is wasted. Mistakes become messages. Failures become experience. Trials produce maturity. Faith is a building process and does not arrive as a finished work.
Romans 11:29 (NKJV) For the Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable.
If only men and women could wrap their head around this one, I have seen so many start strong and get blown off course by the lie of the enemy. He just has to convince us that God somehow changed His Mind when He got to know us and said, “Forget it.” His Grace becomes insufficient in that very moment that He changes His Mind and God becomes a liar. Not my God! He has given us gifts and callings to be used for His Kingdom.
Ephesians 1:17-21 (NKJV)
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
We must know that we are positioned for success. Overwhelming and unprecedented victory belong to us in Jesus Christ. We win. Always. But are we confident enough to wait on the Lord? See that is the real question. I received the Word of the Lord for our son the very night that He was diagnosed. It would take four more cancer diagnoses, radiation, chemotherapy, insurance denials, clinical trials and a bone marrow transplant over more than three years to enter the Promise of God called remission. As a mother, giving up or quitting was never an option. Every Promise of God in my life should receive the same attention and level of commitment.
A solid commitment to Jesus Christ is not a life of randomness. It is not overexcited zeal. Hosea warned us. Without knowledge, His People perished. We must make our commitment to Jesus Christ cerebral. We must think about it. Dissect it. Study it and decide if we truly believe. Tests, trials and tribulation are the fire of refinement that burns off inexperience and ignorance as we pursue the Power of God to change our life and present situation. Now the fun part…
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Justification gives new meaning and divine purpose to our life. Everything we go through now has the potential to produce His Glory. As Christian character is developed, it is a process of burning away all the senseless and useless things in our life to spiritually prosper us. When my life seemed to be falling apart all those years ago, I could have never envisioned the Perfect, Priceless and Precious Plan of God unfolding in my life. I was wasting my life on worthless things. I thought I was serving God. I was not and would not have every discovered it if the trial of cancer never entered our life. God did not give our son cancer. I believe that the Lord wept as our son endured by His Grace and Power. It grieved Jesus as He relived the pain and suffering that He endured in each stripe taken for our son’s healing. See my perspective changed in knowing. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything we go through was proven relevant? It can be when we know.
I Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
A child left unattended may take a stick and begin poking at the tiny helpless ants building their mount. It is not until those ants make their way up the stick to attack that the error in one’s ways are noted through experience. By not choosing to learn more about our God, His Son and His Spirit, or ignoring His Word, or omitting prayer from our life, we walk blindly. Faith is not blind but based on absolute confident hope fully assured though yet unseen. We must know what we believe to walk successfully in the Blessings of God. For our life to make sense, the Eternity in our heart fully discovered. The Word of God is built much like the small ant pile rising up in the yard that represents a giant structure beneath the earth. We have only scratched the surface of His Wonder Working Power. How do I know? There are hospitals full of sickness. People dying in the darkness. Those held captive physically, emotionally and spiritually far from freedom. Today is the day of Salvation. We must know the God we serve and His Word, Will and Way. No longer like small children but striving for maturity that comes with age. Grace and fulfillment in Christ are not blind or ignorant endeavors. We have the Mind of Christ. It is His Will for us to know!
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.