I’ve come to understand that extraordinary things typically happen on ordinary days. As I think back through the stories of my life, some of the most incredible chapters began when I expected it least. It was this thought that struck me on Sunday morning as I looked around the room at some of the individuals and families who are part of our church community.
Across from me was a woman I met at swimming lessons. I was kinda grumpy that day and her son bounced a ball that bumped into my leg. When she ran up to apologize, we started a conversation that led to discovering what an amazing person she is and her getting involved with Sun City Church.
A few rows back was a family who Danny drove over their car with our U-haul on the very first day we moved to Spokane. I can still hear the sound of metal crunching as the tire went over the hood. Somehow God saw fit to connect us together and now they’re an integral part of what God is doing in the ministry of our church.
Back on the other side of me was a couple we met because someone gave them our phone number and told them to call us. The only reason given was that we were the same age and they thought we would make good friends. It gives me goosebumps when I remember the moment I answered the phone and she said, “Hi, someone gave me your number and I’m not really sure why I’m even calling…” Years later, we’re in the same small group and pursuing the call of God together.
I didn’t recognize what God was up to in any of those moments but they were the start of something amazing that only He could have brought together. Often times, we put God in a box with our assumptions of how He should be moving in our lives.We fail to recognize that He is working even when we don’t see it.
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
There is some serious conviction taking place in those words. It’s not “we see”, “we think”, or “we hope”. The verse packs a punch because it asserts that we KNOW God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good.
On the days where we drag ourselves out of bed and only show up because we said we would, God is moving. When we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but we keep putting one foot in front of another, God is moving. In the moments where disappointment sweeps our feet out from under us like a wave we didn’t see coming, God is still moving.
While that is an encouraging thought, it’s partnered with a challenge- He works on behalf of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. What’s that mean? It’s saying there is a role for us to fill.
God could have created us to be robots. Thankfully, He didn’t. He’s powerful enough to be able to do everything on His own without any involvement on our part but He chose to include us. In everything He does on the earth, there’s a part that God plays and a part that we play.
This is important for us to understand or we will get frustrated at the seeming lack of God’s interaction in our life. It’s like getting mad at the door for not opening when you put the wrong key in the lock. You can blame the door all day long when the reality is it will open if you just use the right key to unlock it.
God works things together for the good of those who love Him. You might try to call foul on that idea. What about grace and unconditional love? Remember that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners so this verse isn’t saying that God doesn’t love us unless we love Him first. That’s not the case. It’s telling us that God has plans for our lives that actually come together when we partner with Him rather than resist Him.
Listen, as much as you like to tell God how your story is going to play out and show Him where to stand, when to speak, and what role He is going to take in it…He doesn’t work like that. Either it’s your story or it’s His story. If you want Him to work things together for good then you have to hand over the pencil and let Him write the narrative. You can’t hold onto all your opinions and bad habits, all the while asking Him to work around you. He’s God. He wants the whole story, not a little section in it.
The second key the verse gives us is that God works things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. It implies movement. You may have heard it said that it’s easier to steer a boat in motion than one docked in the harbor. Being called by God looks like taking action to move into the plans God has for us. Things like getting involved in community with other believers, digging into the Bible to learn God for ourselves, or investing our lives to serve other people are ways we get the boat of our life moving towards His call. As you get moving, God starts directing the details of your life to work together for your good.
It all can be summed up like this:
Surrender your heart.
Move your feet.
Open your eyes.
And remember, extraordinary things often happen on the most ordinary of days.