“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Suggested Further Reading: Philemon 4-20
All things work together for the Christian’s eternal and spiritual good. And yet I must say here, that sometimes all things work together for the Christian’s temporal good. You know the story of old Jacob. “Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away; all these things are against me,” said the old patriarch. But if he could have read God’s secrets, he might have found that Simeon was not lost, for he was retained as a hostage—that Joseph was not lost, but gone before to smooth the passage of his grey hairs into the grave, and that even Benjamin was to be taken away by Joseph in love to his brother. So that what seemed to be against him, even in temporal matters, was for him. You may have heard also the story of that eminent martyr who was wont always to say, “All things work together for good.” When he was seized by the officers of Queen Mary, to be taken to the stake to be burned, he was treated so roughly on the road that he broke his leg; and they jeeringly said, “All things work together for good, do they? How will your broken leg work for your good?” “I don’t know,” he said, “but for my good I know it will work, and you shall see it so.” Strange to say, it proved true that it was for his good; for being delayed a day or so on the road through his lameness, he just arrived in London in time enough to hear that Elizabeth was proclaimed queen, and so he escaped the stake by his broken leg. He turned round upon the men who carried him, as they thought, to his death, and said to them, “Now will you believe that all things work together for good?”
For meditation: We are called upon to rejoice in our sufferings, not for their own sake, but because of the outcome (Romans 5:3,4; James 1:2-4). If we, like God, knew the end from the beginning, we would laugh in the midst of our trials, as we shall later (Luke 6:21).
Sermon no. 159
18 October (1857)