The Overruling Providence of God
My brothers and sisters, we all have one thing in common. No, we all may not struggle with drug or alcohol addictions. We may not have problems with homosexuality. However, we all suffer from trouble. Gladys Knight said in a song, “I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs.” Job said in Job 14:1, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” My brothers and sisters, there are those who think it impractical to believe the worst situations in our lives can turn out to be for our best. Some would try to suggest to you, when you have hardships something must be going wrong with you. But I submit to you this morning my brothers and sisters don’t focus on the nay sayers or your situation, because your calamity is not going to be your conclusion. David said in Psalm 27:5, “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Psalm 124:6 says, “Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.” Somebody should take courage this morning knowing that God’s plan for your life overrules (or nullifies) anything or anyone that will try to harm you.
Here in our text, the apostle Paul writes to the believers at Rome to give them and even us today some encouragement that will help in continuing on this Christian journey. I do not know about you, but every now and then, I need to get a little boost while I am running this race. Here penned in the eighth chapter of Romans Paul lets me know that what I am going through is not fate, chance or luck, but it’s all a part of God’s plan. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
There are four things I want to share with you about God’s plan.
The first is that God’s plan is Beneficent.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together FOR GOOD. J. Oswald Sanders says in his book “Spiritual Maturity” the good Paul was speaking of here is spiritual not material. God is not concerned with seeing that we have all the creature comforts however; God’s concern is shaping our character and preparing us for heaven. So, you may not understand why you had to get sick, why you had to cry and go through the heart ache and pain. But I submit to you this morning my brothers and sisters our character is perfected and enriched by the difficult people and situations in our life. It was this truth, which caused Paul and his ministry companion Silas in Acts chapter sixteen to sing and pray at midnight even after being beat and locked in jail. You see my brothers and sisters, it does not matter whether your physical conditions are favorable, the only thing that matters is having God on your side and knowing that with God its all for the best.
Let me stop right here to let you know that everything is not going to work out just because you come to church on Sunday. It is not going to be good just because you are a preacher, deacon, usher, choir member, or even an armor bearer. Paul says it works for good “to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” What are you saying this morning Rev. Stanley? If you want, things in life to work out for your good you need two things: a relationship and a partnership. My brothers and sisters, you have to make sure that you are not just a part of the church body, but God’s body. If you are going to enjoy the benefits of salvation, you must have a relationship with the giver. Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
In addition, you must be in partnership (or in his will). Well how do I line up with God’s will Reverend? I’m glad you asked! My brothers and sisters, you know you are in God’s will when you seek His agenda above your own. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after me, let him first deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”
Not only is God’s plan Beneficent, but His plan is active.
Paul says in the text, “all things work.” My brothers and sisters all things are good in your life because God is able to turn your tribulation into triumph. You don’t mind if I call a witness do you. Come here Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Many thought it was over for these three men when they were cast into the fiery inferno in Daniel chapter three because they would not bow and worship the kings golden image. Oh, But is there anybody here this morning who knows that even if God does not deliver you from your situation, He can deliver you in your situation? The Bible record that the moment these men fell into the fiery furnace Jesus showed up and shielded them from the flames. I don’t know about you, but I am glad I serve a God who can turn my situation around in my favor.
That is why I am not concerned about my enemies, because 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Isaiah 54:17 says, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
In addition to God’s plan being active, His plan is inclusive.
The text says “all things”. God is able to use those tears, that divorce, that break up to make you a better you. Job 23:10 says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” The word “tried” in the Hebrew is ba-han', which means to: investigate and examine. Somebody should take courage this morning knowing that God still has you on his mind. Right now, He is just looking you over and taking the stuff off of you that you don’t need. And when He brings you out of what you are going through you will not even look like what you’ve been through! 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 says, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
This is all possible because God’s plan is Harmonious.
The text says, “All things work together.” God has the ability to take situations in your life that would kill you, mix them together like a prescription, and make them work out for your Good. “How are you going to pay your rent all of your money spent? Little bit to buy some food, baby needs a pair of shoes. Telephones disconnect waiting on your next paycheck. Look, you have got a light bill due; over there you have a gas bill too. Tell you what you aught to do, try Jesus he will see you through.” You may be wondering, “How am I going to make it out of what I am going through?” Let me tell you, put it in the hands of the great Pharmacist and let him work it out! Somebody said, “All in his hands, I put it all in his hands!”