“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.”
Romans 8:28, NLT
The promise in this verse is something I’m more clearly seeing this year. Savoring the richness of different phrases is changing me. I’m forming new perspectives and appreciation (Yes, appreciation!) for the hard things in my life.
This change actually began several years ago when I was pursuing additional training in Christian Coaching. As I studied several of Tony Stolzfus’ coaching books and attended some of his seminars, I became fascinated by his interpretation of the story of Joseph.
Remember Joseph of the Old Testament? The one who was given a special coat by his father because he was the favorite? The lack of emotional intelligence in this sassy, Jewish teenager was so evident. First, he tattled on his brothers and then he told them about a dream he’d had where he ruled over them. (Joseph’s story begins in Genesis 37.)
Joseph’s dream actually came true. God called him to become the right-hand man of Pharaoh of Egypt to save the Israelites during a famine.
However, in order for Joseph to fulfill this calling, he needed to:
- Live in Egypt and speak Egyptian
- Trust the Lord on a deep level in a close relationship
- Have the organizational skills needed to run a country
- Learn the humility and diplomacy necessary to be Pharaoh’s second in command.
So often in sermons we’re told that despite all the trials Joseph had, God faithfully took Joseph from the pit to the palace. However, looking at it differently, you’ll see the trials actually equipped Joseph for his calling.
- Because Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave, he was taken to Egypt where he learned to speak Egyptian.
- Because he was alone and at first couldn’t communicate, Joseph had the incentive to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord.
- Being in charge first of Potiphar’s household and then the warden’s prison taught Joseph the organizational skills he needed to run Egypt.
- Joseph’s tender concern and forgiveness for his brothers shows his immense growth in relationships, humility, and diplomacy.
There’s a big contrast in Joseph the teenager and the man who served as second in charge of Egypt. From the perspective of an EQ coach, I see new skills in empathy, self-control, and situational awareness. I see resilience and personal agility. He grew past the days of thoughtlessly spouting off about his dreams to new skills in building bonds and trust.
Application to My Life
As a result of meditating on Romans 8:28 this year, I’m more deliberate about looking for the good in my hard situations and difficult times. I can point out how being humbled has taught me humility. My empathy is stronger because I’ve been let down, hurt, even crushed in spirit. My self-assessment is more accurate because of my clear need for the Lord.
For me, believing the truth of Romans 8:28 is not necessarily an example of every cloud having a silver lining. Rather it’s knowing God is faithfully answering my prayers to be more like Him, to bring Him glory.
But is getting there fun? Let’s be really honest. It’s not fun!
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward
there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in
this way.” Hebrews 12:11 NLT
Romans 8:28 allows me to be trained, to grow more with less stress…because I know good will come from it.
It’s His promise.