We need to stop saying things like, “If it failed, then it wasn’t of God,” inserting any and everything into the “it.” Having said that, I confess that I’m guilty of saying this. I don’t know if Christians say this out of pride or ignorance. Pride because it sounds like something wise to say in response to the question, “How do I know if something is of God?” Just to be clear here, “of God” means it, whatever it was, wasn’t God’s will. Perhaps ignorance comes from knowing that God cannot fail; therefore, anything God wants us to do will succeed. 

However, what is success to God? What is success to you or me? Because we measure success differently than God, we’re already at a disadvantage in our thinking. Another problem has to do with our perception of time. We also fall short because our motives differ from God’s, and I’m not talking about “bad” reasons. Someone might want a new job to be a better provider for their family. That’s not a wrong motive.

On the other hand, God might want that same person to stay in their job because he’s got a divine encounter lined up for them. In this case, the job seeker sees success as a better provider for his family. On the other hand, God sees success in someone coming to know Jesus through this same person by keeping them in the job.

Because of our perception of time, we’re too quick to judge whether or not something was a success or failure. Look at this verse from Romans.

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.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

This is a popular verse, and rightly so, because it lets us know that everything in our lives will work out for our good if we love God and are called according to his purpose. The best way to read Romans 8:28, though, isn’t by itself. It has to be read and understood in context to truly grasp what’s being said. 

The greater context of Romans 8:28 is Romans 8, Romans, and the Bible. However, for our purposes today, let’s consider Romans 8:18 as the start of the “lesser” context since Romans 8:28 directly refers to it.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (emphasis added).

Romans 8:18 (NIV) 

The critical phrase in Romans 8:18 is “will be revealed in us.” Sure, our present sufferings have our attention because we’re going through them now. Think about what it means to reveal something. When something is revealed, it means it couldn’t be seen before it was revealed. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. In the case of Romans 8:18, the suffering is now, but the glory is also now. It just hasn’t been revealed to us. Let’s consider the other things Paul tells us in Romans 8:19-21.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:19-21 (NIV)

The image that comes to mind when I read Romans 8:19-21 is that of creation impatiently waiting for the plan of God to unfold. When God created everything, he said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Let’s consider what God made. Well, that’s easy, isn’t it? God made everything. He created all things and placed them into motion. When we read about creation in Genesis, we might only consider the heavens and the earth, but it’s far more than that. 

Creation is everything that has happened and will happen. Sort of like your favorite movie, except the running time exceeds our capacity for understanding. You know what will happen at the end when you’re watching your favorite movie. However, you still “suffer” with the protagonist as they struggle through the film. You keep watching the movie because you know what will happen in the end, and it’s a desirable ending for you. Our lives are like a movie, and this movie could be our favorite movie if we saw it as God does, with everything working out for our good because we love Him and are called according to his purpose.

Let’s go back to the context of Romans 8:28.

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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestinedhe also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (emphasis added).

Romans 8:28-30 (NIV)

Romans 8:18 tells us that there will be glory revealed in us. Romans 8:29-30 tells us that God knew us before we knew him and predestined us to be called, justified, and glorified. Our calling is to know Him. Our justification is in Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of our sins; the glorification comes after we have lived and died. 

Now, if everything in our lives happens according to God’s divine will, isn’t God in all of it? If Romans 8:28 is authentic, that “in all things, God works,” then there really isn’t anything that’s “not of God.” Is there? How can there be? I’m not giving a rubber stamp to all the evil things in the world here; I’m still addressing the idea that if something fails, God isn’t in it. If you find that hard to believe, consider your life before you were saved.

We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When I think about my life before Christ and of the testimonies I’ve heard, I know that God was in my life and the lives of those whose testimonies I have heard. Sure, I wasn’t doing things that honored God, but God allowed me to do those things that he might be glorified in my life. 

I will return to what I opened with. We must stop saying things like, “If it failed, then it wasn’t of God.” 

Since I’ve become a Christian, I have failed. A lot. I have failed at work, school, church, and marriage, and I can tell you my failures. More than my successes have brought me closer to God. Although my marriage failed, it was within that “failed” marriage that I was saved. I’d have never been saved without God introducing me to a Christian woman. I could tell you of my other “failures” and how they’ve brought me closer to God and his calling in my life, but I’ve already taken up enough of your time today. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.