Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 38
     Job 4
     Mark 8
     Romans 8
''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. '' (Romans 8:28)
              Tragedy struck in our home. We learned that our fifteen-year-old daughter had been violently raped and was pregnant as a result of that rape. We were emotionally devastated. This added to other adversities confronting us at the time – major surgeries, a flooded house and intensive resistance in ministry.
              I had often been asked the question; do bad things happen to good people? The truth is some of the worst things happen to some of the best people, and because that is true, we have four options.
God is sovereign, and yet He doesn't care.
God cares greatly, but He is too weak to make a difference .
God is neither sovereign nor caring
God is all-powerful and genuinely cares, but He allows the circumstances of our lives for our own good and for His glory.
             This is what Romans 8:28 is all about. A man was signing his restaurant bill in a hotel and, as was his custom, wrote down below his signature, Romans 8:28. The waitress said, ''sir; we don't have a room 828." The man explained what he had written and shared his witness with the young waitress. I would say that Romans 8:28 is a good room to live in. The original language reveals great truth for the child of God in this verse.
The certainty of it''. . .we know with absolute certainty . . .''
The completeness - this verse does not just cover some things in our life but all things that come into our lives. We can be assured that whatever happens to us is not accidental or coincidental but it is always providential.
The cause - the actual rendering in the original language says ''but we know with absolute certainty that God is at work..''
The continuation - as the difficult circumstances come into our lives the solution and the victory is not always immediate. It is in the continuing aftermath that we discover the hand of God at work.
The condition - we discover that this is a conditional truth. This promise of God is a family promise. It belongs only to those who know the Lord and to those that love God and are called according to His purpose.
The conformity - verse 29 reveals to us that the purpose of these events in our life is to conform us to the image of His Son. It shows a Holy God at work making us more and more like Jesus. They asked a sculptor, ''How did you make that beautiful horse?'' His response was, ''it’s very simple. I took a large rock and knocked off everything that didn't look like a horse." Now God is at work with His holy hammer, sacred chisel and heavenly sandpaper knocking off everything in our lives that doesn't look like Jesus.
The consequences - the consequence of this work of God is that we are only the first born among many brethren.
            How we respond to God's shaping work in our lives will bring others to know Him. This is evidence that God uses broken vessels. A man named Cregle wrote a book entitled, If It Hasn't Broke, Break It. He tells the story of a potter on a South Pacific island that made beautiful pottery. As the pottery was almost complete, he would break it. He would then put it back together with melted gold. The result was a valuable piece of pottery with a unique filigree of gold.  We are most valuable to God when we have been broken and melted.  We have learned in the darkness of the night what we could never learn in the light of the day.  God is indeed at work, working together all things for the good of them that love Him and for His own glory.
We can rejoice today that Communism failed to eradicate Christianity in Angola. We can further rejoice that the growth of Biblical Christianity has continued in the midst of appalling suffering and deprivation. They need the kind of love that reaches out to forgive those who persecuted them, a love that transcends tribal loyalties and violent politics. This church also needs the ending of state restrictions and manipulation, and the emergence of true freedom of religions. As in every church, a need for Christ-like, holy living by followers of the Lord Jesus is urgent in this land where there has been so much persecution.
''The strange minister of adversity visits all of us."   Ron Dunn