Let’s start with Romans 8 v 27-28 which says, “And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
Sometimes I feel like I have a banjo with only one string. I feel that I am constantly having to say the same thing over and over again and, although people may agree with me, they don’t realise the implications. They don’t realise what it actually means. Let me try and clear this up once and for all. The verse says, God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God, it does not say that God causes everything to happen, nor does it say everything that happens is according to God’s will. What is the difference? Let’s look at a few examples below. These are actual statements that I have heard from people.
“God has made me ill so that He can heal me to bring my friends to Him”. “God wanted me to have a baby out of wedlock because He knew that a child would be good for me”. “God made me have a car accident so that I can witness to so many people from a wheel-chair”. I don’t believe these to be true. Did God MAKE you ill so that He could heal you and lead His friends to you, or did He USE the fact that you were ill to do a miracle and bring your friends to Him? You see, there is a huge difference between the two. The same is true for the other two statements. The verse says that God causes everything to work for our good. He has this amazing knack for turning things in our lives around for His glory. Whether we get ourselves into a mess, or if we have a mess thrust upon us (by the devil, not God), God still seems to turn it around, if we allow Him. If God makes people ill, then we really shouldn’t pray for them, in fact they shouldn’t even go to the doctor. Why would we want to work against the will of God? Fortunately, it isn’t the will of God.
I would also like to address the last part of the passage, “ … and are called according to His purpose for them”. People love to use this verse to exclude people. They say that this is only for people who have been ‘called’, like pastors and missionaries. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but, if you consider yourself to be a Christian, then you are called. So then, what does this mean? It means that God has called us all for specific purposes, He has given us all unique jobs, and He will provide according to those jobs. Those plans that He has for us do not include sickness and sin. He would not call us to sin and then tell us not to, nor would he call us to be ill (or injured) once He died for us to be whole.
I know that this is a pet irritation of mine, and I know that there will be many views on this. I am also aware that I haven’t gone into too much detail here, as I merely want to show the difference between the two statements. I urge you to keep this in mind next time you see someone accredit God for their bad situation.
Having said this, please don’t confuse this with being called into a difficult situation. God may well call people into situations that are not easy, sometimes dangerous, even seemingly impossible. Yes, God does stretch us, as that forces us to have faith in Him. Often we start something which He has called us into and it is not easy, and we don’t see the victory straight away. This is different to what I mentioned above. This doesn’t involve sickness and sin.
I hope that this makes sense.