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“And 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).

This masterpiece from the pen of the Apostle Paul has served as a tremendous source of encouragement to struggling Christians throughout the centuries. many people have looked with fear upon their circumstances, only to be driven to the Word of God. Once there, many cling desperately to this verse, daring to hope that it is true.

But the problem that many of us face is this: we have a suspicion somewhere in the back of our minds that, maybe, just maybe, not ALL things work out for our good. We try to bravely suppress such thoughts, knowing that good Christians merely trust God. But deep within, we hear whispers of doubt as they echo throughout our soul.

Faith is easy when life is good, and every day is sunny. But it’s in the dark night of the soul that we look to the promise of Romans 8.28. All things work together for good….We know what it says, and we try to believe that it’s true. Yet our heart and mind rebel against our spirit, telling us that not ALL things work together for good.

Sickness, bills, failing grades, and satanic opposition bring many Christians to their knees. They look up into the skies and see the glimmer of hope that is Romans 8.28. And so they recite these hallowed words: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Can it really be true? Life seems to tell us a different story, one of heartache and despair, chaos and defeat.

I am convinced that God wants to hear our doubts as well as our professions of faith. Time and time again the Psalmist bared his soul before God, and let the all-seeing Lord know how he truly felt. The Psalmist understood, however, that his doubt must give way to faith, because God is on His throne. And He works ALL things together for good.

It doesn’t make sense, and form our perspective, it isn’t rational. But Romans 8.28 is still in the Bible, and it’s followed up by Paul’s magnum opus:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8.38-39).
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. He’s always there, picking up the pieces of our shattered lives and pouring out his matchless grace. He works all things together for good. ALL things. It doesn’t make sense to my finite human mind. But then again, it’s not supposed to. My job is to believe that God meant what He said. And so I choose to believe in the promise of Romans 8.28. I dare to hope.

This morning America awakened to the news that President Barack Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize. Many people, including representatives from the White House, were surprised by the announcement. A question was immediately asked, by those on both the right and the left: has the President really earned such a prestigious honor? This conversation will doubtless continue throughout the next several days, as President Obama takes his place in the historic pantheon of Nobel laureates. Indeed, he now stands in illustrious company. Former Nobel winners include Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, and Teddy Roosevelt. Some certainly deserved the prize; others did not.

As I pondered this milestone today, my thoughts turned to another man of peace, one whose arrival was not triumphal, one whose life was not glamorous, and one whose death was celebrated by many. Why is it that Jesus of Nazareth was rejected by the world He came to save? Why is it that He never garnered the applause of men, or the international stardom that comes with a Nobel Prize?

The Bible clearly identifies peace as an important part of Jesus’ ministry: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5.1). Here the Bible speaks of reconciliation, not between bitter rivals, or warring tribes, but between man and God. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5.9-10).

According to the Bible, mankind is at war with a just and holy God (James 4.4). Because we fall short of God’s standard of perfection, the Bible calls us sinners. We are people who are at war with God, sinners who are evil in the very core of our being. This sin nature sets us at odds with our Creator and places us into a constant state of rebellion.

This is why Jesus came. This is why Jesus died. Only through Christ’s death and resurrection can we experience peace with God. On the cross He bore the penalty for our sin, in order to satisfy the just demands of God’s law (2 Corinthians 5.21). His sacrificial death, when accepted by faith, bridges the gap between men and God. Because Jesus “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1.19), we can spend an eternity in Heaven.

This accomplishment surpasses anything ever achieved by any Nobel laureate, even for the best of the bunch. Yet Jesus has never been awarded a medal. He has never been acclaimed by all the world. And He has never been a television star. Yet Jesus does not need any of these things. The Bible teaches that one day Jesus Christ will return to the planet earth to establish His eternal kingdom (Revelation 19-22).

On that day, the paparazzi will be overwhelmed, and the Nobel committee will be speechless. For they will stand before God in the flesh, the One whose death and life reconciles men to God. The Bible calls Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9.6). He is better than any Nobel laureate, for He will one day bring lasting peace to this earth. This peace will be based upon His terrible death upon the cross in our behalf. Truly, this is an accomplishment deserving of our respect. We dare not trivialize it with an award. Instead, we should bow the knee before our Creator and Lord, the Prince of Peace.