One of the most beloved and favorite promises of the Bible is Romans 8:28 - "In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
There are two requirements for all things to work for the good: first, you have to love Christ, and second you have to be called by God for His purpose.
And if you meet these two requirements, then the promise is that all things, not just some things or even most things, but that all things will work together for the good.
I guess the real question for me is, what does good mean in this context? Does good mean that everything will always go their way and that they are free from suffering and hard work like the rest of humanity? What does it look like when God works for the good of those who love Him?
Good in this context certainly cannot mean that they are free from pain and suffering. Bonhoeffer and Jim Elliott are perfect examples of this. Bonhoeffer was killed for his faith by a firing squad. Jim Elliott never even got a chance to share about the love of God with the indigenous indians before they speared him to death.
And for all intents and purposes, we know that these men loved Jesus. We know that they were called by God for His purpose because so many people have come to saving faith and have been blessed through their lives, work, writing, and their death.
It would be absurd in any stretch of the imagination to call what happened to them good. It certainly couldn't have felt good to be shot or speared to death.
So what does it mean that God works for the good?
Nietzche said, "He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW."
I think Nietzche might have something here.
He who understands the why of his/her existence can put up with almost anything that life can throw at them. And that is what God provides. He gives us our purpose, our aim in life and in eternity. And because we know that our mere existence for several decades are merely a journey in eternity, nothing that can happen here on earth can ever shake what God provides in eternity.
God works all things for the good. Really? Yes indeed!