Do you ever just ponder the vastness and majesty of God and how much we pilgrims pale in comparison?
He has done so much to draw us to Himself and yet so little is required of us?
Yes…once we come to know Him and admit our grievous sins and ask for His pardon, we in return lay down our claim to an independent life…but wouldn’t that be called a “win-win” situation. Consider the alternative…death vs. life, separation vs. fellowship, bondage vs. freedom, despair vs. hope…the comparisons are endless. I think in math terms this type of relationship would be inversely proportionate…add it up, we make out big time!
My children love to eat what I grew up calling submarine sandwiches or “subs” for short. Their eyes would always grow large and round when they learned that they would not be eating plain old sandwiches but a monstrosity of a sandwich…some people would call it a “hero sandwich”. This sandwich was anything but wimpy and fit for those that had worked up an appetite…perhaps from just enduring the daily battles of life…sometimes that is heroic indeed.
Whenever I turn to His Word…I am reminded of how immense it is and how packed with good stuff…you could say it isn’t thinly sliced processed meat…no, I’m talking the quality deli counter roast beef, turkey, ham, salami and layers of cheddar, swiss (not on mine please), provolone plus lettuce and tomatoes all piled between two big crusty pieces of bread! I never come away from God’s Word without being fully satisfied and nourished…be it from just a few verses or reading at length.
So let’s open wide and consume a bit of the hero sandwich that the Father has prepared for us in His Word.
This morning I spent a little time reading a verse that is very well known and rehearsed among believers…sometimes it almost seems to be a mantra to explain the often unexplainable.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I continue to be thankful that all things work to the good…very thankful indeed. There are realities in my life that I would have preferred to not walk through…they were devastatingly hard and caused me to question why…what was the point? But as I look at the verses surrounding this tasty meat, I see the other ingredients that God uses to create this hero sandwich.
Immediately following Romans 8:28 we read:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
All things work for the good…because:
God predestined us to be conformed to His likeness
God has called us
God has justified us
God will glorify us
God’s ultimate goal is that we would be conformed to His likeness…before creation He knew us…He called us and put a calling on our lives…He justified us when we sought His forgiveness and one day we will reign in glory with Him.
So on those days when we are prone to have a pity party of one and believe that life is unbearably unfair we can remember:
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8: 31,32
Perhaps you have suffered the loss of a job, a marriage, a child, a spouse, a friend…perhaps you have been treated unjustly or betrayed…maybe you have received devastating news or diagnosis…possibly your children have yet to rise up and call you blessed, in fact you can’t believe what does come out of their mouths…maybe it has just been a really bad day…week…year. Do you often wonder what to pray in the midst of it all?
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
Romans 8: 26,27
What is God’s will…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
What is God’s purpose…that we would be conformed to His likeness…in being conformed…we may be called to suffer as He suffered to bring forth our redemption.
What is our response…Hallelujah…God is for us…anything that comes against us may appear to prosper but in the end, God will get the victory and the glory.
Still not convinced…still having a really bad day? Do you feel like you are in this thing called life all alone…have you been abandoned by those nearest and dearest because you are a bit of a downer lately? One more piece of filling to complete our meal:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long:
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 35-39
I don’t know about you but I just sliced off a great big piece of God’s hero sandwich…His Word…and I know that it is going to take a bit to digest and become one with my spirit and mind but I am more than willing to partake in the pleasure of sitting at His table and chewing away…bite by precious bite.
Be of good courage my dear ones…you are all more than conquerors in Christ,