IT'S ALL GOOD IN THE HOOD

October 8, 2021

According to the Urban Dictionary, the phrase "It's all good in the hood" means everything is perfect and going well in your life or current situation. If you're having a good day and someone asks how you're doing, when you reply that "It's all good in the hood" you're telling them that your world is doing well right now.   It's like a weather report that says it is sunny and comfortably warm.  Kind of gives you that "Aaahhhh" feeling.

Here's the problem.  Life isn't always "sunny and comfortably warm."  Sometimes life serves up tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes. There are times that our "Aaahhhh" isn't a relaxed sigh but a scream of anguish.   Some of us turn to the scriptures in times like that, seeking solace and strength. And that's when we run smack dab into a verse like Romans 8:28 -

WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE

It's amazing to me that a verse like this - a verse which holds such an incredible promise - can be so difficult and challenging to accept when I am in the midst of  a difficult and challenging situation.  And yet that is PRECISELY when I need to hold onto verses like this !!!

Of course the ultimate goal of our faith is the establishment of a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  A faith that doesn't  deal with our sin and open the way  for an eternal relationship with Him is of no value.  But that is not the  only purpose for which Christ saves us.  Your faith, if it is to have any real value, must be able to strengthen us when life becomes overwhelming.

IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM

I've just finished a conversation with our Communion's Ecumenical Officer about some of our ongoing work of building bridges and relationships.  He's doing an amazing job, and one that I can see the hand of God clearly moving in.  But there was a point I had TOTALLY MISSED, and Canon Phil brought it front and center.  He said, "Bishop, if I hadn't had my heart attack three years ago I would be totally entrenched with Bishop "X" and I would have missed this opportunity entirely."

Did you hear that?!?!?    "IF I HADN'T HAD MY HEART ATTACK THREE YEARS AGO ….."  It was God choosing to use a heart attack to put him in a place of protection, where he would necessarily be removed from the net that was being woven around him. God was working ALL THINGS (including a heart attack) together for Phil's good. Why?? Because Phil loves God. Because Phil has been called according to His purpose.

If someone calls you and says, "Last night someone in Atlanta sliced open my brother's abdomen" your initial reaction will quite naturally be one of horror. But if that person calls you and says, "Last night my brother's appendix burst; but they rushed him into surgery and were able to save his life" you'll be celebrating with your friend. But from the perspective of the impact on the body of his brother, there is really little difference. Stomach sliced open, the need for medical intervention, pain, recovery time -- these are ALL the same.

The only difference that comes into play is the question of purpose. It is when the matter of intended outcome is considered that the perspective changes. But for the brother, the next weeks are going to be filled with exactly the same level of pain. THAT is the power of perspective.

We have God's promise in His word that IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.

Three years ago, Phil could neither see nor understand matters from the perspective he has today. Today more of his heart attack makes sense than it did a week after it occurred. But Phil knew THAT his God would work the heart attack for his good, he just didn't understand HOW God would do it.

To be sure a significant element of the power of Romans 8:28 is this --
IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM

And He does so even when we cannot possibly understand HOW He will do it. God's ability does not rely upon our understanding.

But never forget the key that unlocks the POWER of the verse -- as wonderful as the promise is -- is contained in the first two words: WE KNOW !!!

WE KNOW --
We know -- and so we can take the "long view"
We know -- and so we can rely upon the grace of God, even when we do not understand HOW
We know -- and so we can stand in faith
We know -- and so our FOUNDATION can withstand the waves of the tsunami and the winds of the hurricane
We know -- and so we can trust that God works for the good of those who love Him in ALL THINGS

Yes -- A-L-L things.
Things we understand, and things we do not. Pleasant things AND painful things. He takes EVERYTHING that life throws at us, the good, the bad and the ugly; and HE (because He is ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING and ALL GOOD) is able to work it together for our GOOD !!!!

What matters is NOT what things appear to be --
What TRULY matters is that WE KNOW !!

WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM, WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE

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