And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.
(Romans 8:28 AMP)
A good friend e-mailed me this spring that she was praying for “God’s perfect plan in an imperfect world.” I thought this such a beautiful picture of God’s ability to work out all things for good. God has actually been instilling within me a deep knowing that when He works all things for good, He does not mean that all things will seem good to us at the time we experience them. Rather, when He promises to work all things for good, He is promising to take every imperfect piece and mold it into His perfect plan.
Let me take a moment today to convey this principle–this principle of God’s goodness within everything. As we began several months ago traveling the path of trying to sell our house and buy another, God continually showed His faithfulness in every detail, even the unexpected details. We first began our search for a new home in the spring of this year. Our desire: a nice home with acreage for cattle. Yet, as we began looking for that perfect property, we often came across a nice house with less than acceptable land, or a great piece of land with a house requiring extensive renovation. And then we also had to add into the search travel time and potential schools for the children. Did I mention we had a budget?
Months into our search, we thought we found “the one” for us. It was a nice house on nice land and close to everything. The house was a little small, but it was definitely workable. The catch was the house was owned by one person, and the land was owned by another. We decided to attempt the purchase, and it seemed as if God was gifting us with something extraordinary. Yet at the moment we thought we’d be getting the property, one of the landowners chose another offer. So we lost both.
I’d like to say we rolled with it, but honestly, we were quite disappointed. What we thought would have been the most perfect story of God’s faithfulness had fizzled into nothing. We were back to looking for a home.
And then a few weeks later we decided to re-look at the first house we ever liked. Even though the house required extensive renovations, we loved the property and thought we’d go for it. Yet the very weekend we were going to place an offer on it, God led me by a house we’d never seen. When I drove by the house, I thought to myself how nice it was; it had a nice house AND nice land. Of course, when I mentioned it to Matt, however, he said he’d seen it but that it was out of our price range.
Nope. For the unexpected happened.
I repeat: the unexpected happened.
When Matt mentioned the house to our realtor, she quickly let us know it might just be in our price range. So we stopped with the offer on the one house and decided to look more into this newest home.
One word regarding this new property: wow.
The house was not only a well-maintained house, but the land was also beautiful. In addition, the location was great and the price apparently within our budget. The perfect place. Yes, even more perfect than the one we had been so disappointed in losing only a few weeks prior. I still vividly remember the day we viewed the house and property; the phrase “exceedingly abundantly” echoed within my mind. I knew God was doing “exceedingly and abundantly” above all I could have ever hoped or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).
And remember how I mentioned His working in the unexpected details? Well, this particular home had my dream refrigerator in it. I know, I know–who has a dream refrigerator? Well, I did. And this house had it! And it was going to convey with the home! I’m still super excited about this particular detail. God cared enough about me to give me the fridge of my dreams. Woohoo!
Now I’d like to say that once we found the home (and fridge!) of our dreams, things went smoothly and we were in it in no time at all. But I can’t. It wasn’t easy. It was quite rough. We had to muddle through negotiations with the sellers and with the bank. Nevertheless, it eventually all worked for good as God had promised. The financing issues were worked out in a way that suited us perfectly. The underground oil tank that was apparently leaking was removed at little cost because of a grant. The closing date was delayed because of an appraiser issue, but the delay caused our first mortgage payment to be due almost a month later than what we had anticipated. This was a good thing, because at the time of closing, we had not sold our old home yet. The fewer months we’d have to pay two mortgages, the better.
And speaking of two mortgages, guess what happened soon after we closed on our new home? You guessed it. Someone placed an offer on our current home. Now at first, I wasn’t sure about the offer since it didn’t fit my preconceived plan, but again, God had promised to work things for good. The contract we now have in place on our old home not only will close BEFORE our new first mortgage is due (which means we won’t even have one month of two mortgages!), but also the contract pays off our old mortgage and supplies us with some extra income in the long term. How cool is that?! To God be the glory!
To God be the glory.
This is what God has been showing me. When He promises to work out all things for good, He works things out for His good pleasure. He works things out in a way that gives Him the glory He deserves. And He deserves all of it.
As I sit her typing this blog on my sofa in my dream home while my kids attend an amazing school, I can testify of God’s faithfulness. I can testify that He works all things out for good–even the unpleasant things.
So how do we continue to keep our heads held high? How do we, in the words of Annie, “stick up our chin and grin” during the gray and lonely days?
We remember God’s faithfulness–His faithfulness to work all things out for good.
Read with me the beginning of Psalm 105:
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered…”
If you continue reading Psalm 105, the psalmist declares the wondrous works God has done since Abraham. The psalmist could keep his chin up and hopes alive because he not only sought God, but also he praised God for all the good things God had done.
In the same way, we also must remember God has been working since the beginning of time and will continue to work until the end. God hasn’t given up, and neither should we.
Let me give you an example of keeping on and continuing to trust even within the unpleasant circumstances of life. Below is the portion regarding Joseph in Psalm 105:
When he summoned a famine on the land
and broke all supply of bread,
17 he had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
18 His feet were hurt with fetters;
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
19 until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the Lord tested him.
20 The king sent and released him;
the ruler of the peoples set him free;
21 he made him lord of his house
and ruler of all his possessions,
22 to bind his princes at his pleasure
and to teach his elders wisdom.
“He had sent a man…” Joseph was sent by God to protect and to preserve God’s people. Yet the path Joseph traveled was one of rejection, slavery, and imprisonment. I’m sure as Joseph sat in prison for something he didn’t do, things didn’t seem good. There was no physical evidence backing up the promising dreams he had had as a teen. Yet Joseph trusted God. He continued to remain faithful in whatever God placed in his path. And God honored Joseph for his faithfulness. No, it didn’t come right away. And it wasn’t a pretty path. But in the end, all worked for good. And God got the glory.
Now let me give you a personal example. Last night I was missing some friends from our old home. I missed the fellowship, the closeness, the connection. I missed having friends and mentors within hugging distance. Even though I knew God had called me to the place I am right now, I was a bit lonely for close fellowship. I was again old-home sick.
Yet this morning God reminded me to look back at the great things He has done. He brought to mind the above verse as well as all the details He has been taking care of before, during, and since our move. And it is as I have recounted the purchase of this new home as well as the sale of our old that my hope has been renewed. If God can give me my dream fridge in my dream home and keep us from having to pay two mortgages, then He will certainly bring to me a local friend within hugging distance in His good time. It may not be my timing; but as long as it is God’s timing, I know it will be perfect.
So this is where I encourage you today. Are things going well with you? If so, then praise Jesus! Declare His wondrous works to the world so they too can rejoice in His faithfulness. Make a list of all the amazing details God has taken care of in your life–even the ones that appeared unpleasant at the time. And then share it. Share the list with friends. Share it with family. Share it with the world so that God can get even more glory for the great things He has done.
If things are not going well–if your days are cloudy and lonely and appear to be as far from good as one can get, then I encourage you as well to not only keep believing and keep seeking Him, but also to look back at what God has done for you in the past. Write a list of all the amazing details God has taken care of in your life before. You’ll soon learn that by declaring what He has done, you’ll be filled with a new hope in what He is going to do.
God is faithful, my friend. So keep believing. Keep seeking. Keep moving forward. Keep going forth with joy knowing that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.