We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. —Romans 8:28, CSB
In college, I wanted to do it all. I wanted Greek letters, so I pledged; I didn’t want to lose my street cred, so I was near enough to those who were about “that life.” I didn’t want to look too irreligious, so I grazed the pastures of the religious crowd. I wanted to be taken seriously, so I kept the activist crowd close, but life was too hard not to enjoy it, so I ran with the party crowd. The problem was, I was one person walking many paths with no real destination; I did not have a purpose.
Paul wrote to the Romans saying “…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” In context, the love of God that Paul is speaking of is not one we associate with a love for food, sports, or vacations; no, it is a deep intestinal love, vital love; it is an allegiance-type love that supersedes others, to the death and beyond. The promise is one knowing that God works all things together for good, for those who have this supernatural love. But the threading of God’s working all things together for good is according to His purpose, God’s intentionality, not our understanding.
The promise of God’s kindness in this verse and throughout the chapter of Romans 8 is this: in Christ you are an heir (v. 17), God is your father (v. 16), you are redeemed (vv. 3, 4, 18), loved (v. 31), prayed for by the Spirit of God (vv. 26, 27), interceded for by Christ (v. 34), nothing can be against you (vv. 37-39), and you have the Spirit that raised Christ from the grave in you (v. 11), which all equal an intentional calling and purpose from God.
See, in college, I was trying to throw a bowl of spaghetti at the wall hoping that purpose stuck to the wall of clarity from the myriad of things I pursued. However, when God has declared before the foundations of the world that your singular purpose is Christ, he gives you numerous assurances that circumstances—sexual abuse, near-death experience, or the lack of a father—are moments, though threatening, that will work together for good, because I am called, I am his, I am loved, and I am strengthened according to his purpose… All Things Work Together.