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The Most Powerful Promise in the Bible

The Most Powerful Promise in the Bible

I silently grieve daily with a burden only my closest family members know about. It is an inexpressible profound pain, forever lingering just below the surface.

It is my weakest area. Satan knows this. When I’m tired or ill he whispers reminders to my soul, catching me off guard and throwing me into an aching, agonizing abyss of mourning again, tearing another piece of  my heart. On one occasion it was so emotionally painful it directly caused an artery in my physical heart to collapse (an artery that was replaced by surgery a few months earlier).

One day I may be able to share my burden’s end and rejoice. For now, given that others are involved, it would be wrong to explain publicly.

The only relief I have is to immerse myself in and meditate on God’s Word. The Psalms are particularly soothing.

Much of what I write on this blog as encouragement is fruit that began as a seed of Bible study or devotional reading in an attempt to pull myself out of this heartrending abyss. That alone is cause to thank God for the burden, as it leads me to call out to Him.

Isaiah says, “Be comforted!” God’s comfort does not weaken but strengthens and empowers:

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness
and confidence shall be your strength
.  (Isa
30:15)

Gods-promise

Another way I am comforted is through books. I just started reading a The Promise: How God Works All Things Together for Good, by Robert J. Morgan, as part of my continuing battle.

Morgan takes one simple passage of Scripture, Romans 8:28,  and shares stories of hope, solidifying the verse.  Each chapter offers multiple and engagingly written real-life accounts of people who faced circumstances so unthinkable that no one believed they could be transformed into good, but by the story’s end, God indeed brought about such benefit, personal growth and spiritual insight that the participants thanked Him for the trial. It’s been a tremendous blessing to me.

2447151Here is an excerpt from the preface of this excellent book:

I’m writing these words shortly after returning from the grave side of the little boy named Samuel. Unborn child who mysteriously died in the womb days before delivery. I’ve known the extended family for many years. They joined my church. Not long after I became pastor, nearly 30 years ago.  Samuel’s mother had expected to be nursing him in her arms today, but instead she buried him in the cold earth. A tiny coffin replaced the crib.

As we walked among the graves back to our cars, I reached for her hand, and fighting back tears, she said to me, “I know that good will come from this, somehow, someway.” God works all things together for good, and I’m just holding on to that promise.

Driving home, I mulled over those words. Everything happens for a reason. Good will come from this. It will work out in the end.

Mere clichés?

No, clichés are not helpful. Instead, these are soul-bracing realities that flow from a central truth of Scripture  stated in Romans 8:28.

all-things-work-romans-8-28

It is arguably the most powerful promise in the Bible. Clichés and platitudes are temporary bandages, but Romans 8:28 gives us complete and ultimate healing to both our souls and their situations.

Human courage and the internal fortitude take us only so far without a stronger wind to our back. The French philosopher Voltaire once defined optimism as “mania of maintaining that everything is well. When we are wretched.”

Some people are blessed with an upbeat personality that allows them to view life through rose-colored glasses and “make the most of all that comes in the least of all that goes,”  as philosopher Sarah Teasdale once put it. But even sunny- so people can’t ward off all the shadows, not for long, certainly not forever, not without a sure word from an omnipotent God.

Sooner or later, even the upbeat soul gets beat up by life.

We need a higher power, a deeper strength, a wider mercy, and a mightier word. We need a promise so broad in its scope that nothing is excluded and so infallible in its application that on its sheer word alone we are consoled, energized,vitalized, and enervated during life’s roughest moments.

We need a heartening word during life’s smaller battles, too, for we have our share of both. Unbalanced checkbooks. Speeding tickets. Cancer scares. High blood pressure. Car payments. Car wrecks. Gas prices. Foreclosures. Prodigal children. The death of a pet. Chronic pain. Stubborn addiction. Pharmacy bills. Broken arms. Broken marriages. Broken hearts. Broken heirlooms.

The problems come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of intensity. Some are mind-numbing and earthshaking. Others are two bit trifles; yet sometimes the smaller problems upset us more than the larger ones. I’ve had my shares of ups and downs in life; they aren’t over yet.

As long as we’re breathing air, we’re going to have good days and bad ones.

And sometimes the bad ones are very bad. I know what it’s like to be jolted awake at 2 a.m. with news you’ve never wanted to hear. I know what it’s like to face debilitating family illness and to encounter a string of disappointments. I’ve struggled with cycles of despondency  and seasons of anguish. And like you, I felt the  sadness of standing by freshly dug graves.

Thankfully, I can say that in my experience thus far, the bad days have been exceptions rather than the rules. But that’s not always the case for everyone. Some people face a lifetime of adversity, and for those of us, the problems grow harder as we grow older.

During such times, were swimmers drawn toward open water by powerful undertow’s of doubt. We brood. We fume. We feel sorry for ourselves as we battle waves of discouragement. We grieve and weep, and sometimes feel were drowning.

What if…

But consider this: what if you knew it would all turn out well, what ever you are facing? what if Romans 8:28 really were more than a cliché? What if it was a certainty, a Spirit-certified life preserver, and unsinkable objective truth, infinitely buoyant, able to keep your head above water. Even when your ship is going down?

What if it really worked? What if it always worked? What if there were no problems beyond its reach?

Would that make a difference to you? If you really believed it, would it shore up your spirits? Brace up your heart, gird up your strength? Beef up your attitude? Put a bounce in your step? Put the sparkle back into your eyes?

Romans 8:28 is an all-inclusive, all-powerful and always available. It is as omnipotent as the God who signed and sealed it. It’s as loving as the Savior who died to unleash it. It can do anything God can do. It can touch any heart and redeem any problem. It isn’t a mere platitude, but a divine promise. It isn’t a goal, but a guarantee. It isn’t wishful thinking but a shaft of almighty providence that lands squarely in our pathway each day and every moment.

The Lord moved Heaven and Earth to keep this promise. He puts his eye to the microscope of the providential oversight and scans the smallest details of our lives, working them into a tapestry of blessing, making sure the goodness and mercy follow with all the days. He turns problems inside out, transforming bad things to blessings…

What a mighty God we serve!

The Promise: How God Works All Things Together for Good is available on the Kindle (download a portion free) or in paperback.

Image Credit: One Year Bible Blog

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About Robin Sampson

13 comments

  1. Regina

    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which is your delight.

    Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

  2. It would be great if we knew before hand when sorrow would strike. My grandparents both died years ago but there are times when the sorrow of missing them can be shocking. The sorrow of a friend who will not speak to me anymore (for unknown reasons) often shows up when I’m just sitting and enjoying the beauty around me.

    I have found that when sorrow strikes the Word is a tremendous defense. I also think about “The Little Prince.” ‘when your sorrow is comforted – time soothes all sorrows – you will be content that you have known me . . . and you, only you will have stars that can dance.’

    Looking out at my dancing stars gives me a peach that fuels my joy and overcomes any sorrow!

  3. Sorry – that would be a PEACE that fuels my joy (although I do love a good peach as well)!

  4. Tamara Scire

    Robin,

    I had a dream a few months ago. I was in this warehouse and it was dark, I knew something evil was inside with me–I could feel it’s presence and I was terrified. I was praying out loud to cast it away, make it leave, in Jesus Name, etc, but it wasn’t leaving. Several different people were there with me, seemingly unafraid of this foul spirit, I was terrified. I saw it’s face–it was ugly, disgusting, terrifying and I knew it was out to “steal, kill, and destroy” me (John 10:10). I woke myself up from the dream, with toes tingling, terrified still.

    I lay there panting, asking God, what was that about? He very clearly explained to me that the demon in the dream was “despair”. All these years–since I was molested at the age of five I have “welcomed” despair. I saw despair as my friend, it was familiar, something I knew well, I could hold on to it. God told me He wanted me to see how ugly and vicious this “despair” demon is and that he is actually trying to destroy me.

    It was incredible to me. I broke the agreements I had made with despair-when it came to tell me I was hopeless, disgusting, not worth coming for–I would agree because of my wounding. He still comes to throw stones at my house, calling from the front yard, wanting me to agree with him. There have been times when I’ve welcomed him back–even knowing his plan. Frustratingly so, I sometimes forget his true purpose for me–to distract me and destroy me. I forget how ugly he is, how unkind. Then, I’ll hear the gentle voice of my Savior, reminding me to let go of my despair and cling to Him. My flesh is weak–oh so weak, thank you Jesus that you are strong and that You’ve promised never to leave me or forsake me.

    Thank you for sharing your grief with us Robin.

    God’s peace to you,

    Tamara Scire

  5. Robin,
    My heart bleeds with yours. Then pain in your writing touches me. I’m one of those nasty little optomists that sees the world with rosy colored glasses….but I understand your pain. I also have several little darts that try to come steal my joy. Romans 8:28 has been my lifeline more than once. I also love Matthew 6:22: “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if you have a ‘good eye’ (that is if you are generous)your whole body will be full of light.” CJB. Many days I’ve had to determine that my eye would allow only light into my body. And when it feels like I just can’t bear it anymore, I remember Philipians 4:17 “I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Without Papa’s love letter to me (my Bible) I’d be lost. Cling to His love letter to you Sweetie. He’ll never let that pain overwhelm you…He’s holding all your tears in the palm of His Hand. And one day, for each of those tears, you’ll have nuggets of joy. I pray Papa grants you more joy and less pain each day. Shalom, joie

  6. I can empathize with you, many times satan uses the things he knows really gets to me to get me down. Today as I have been about my day and have been tempted to write tweets about how I am feeling but have resisted because I want to be able to encourage someone and not let myself fall into the trap of “misery likes company”. I know that when I can find a promise in the Bibe and lean on that and share it I now help myself but also can encourage someone else. I want you to know that you are an encouragement to me. The short time I have followed you I have been blessed. I pray for you and trust the Lord will lead and guide you. Lean on him, he will be your strength. Bev

  7. Thank you for sharing this, Robin, especially your experience of how sorrow lives in your heart, daily. I have the same pain that draws me to know Him and know that I’m thankful to Him for it no matter if no one else understands. I think the ridicule is very hard, when no one understands, especially family and especially when you can’t share it with them. And even if you did, they wouldn’t understand why Jesus could actually be a comfort. That type of sadness causes me to run to Him as well and remember how He was mocked for showing us the Father.

    Continuing to pray for your good health and thanking Him for your ministry to me (and others) Much love and have a blessed weekend.
    Joni in DE
    Wife to John almost 20 years and mommy to Jaime, 18, Michael, 14, Julia, 12, Abigail, 8, Hannah, 6 and Daniel, 4

  8. Such an encouragement to read your post and to read the comments, as well. I, also, have an area of pain in my life that only a few know. The temptation is to despair; yet, I KNOW that God has promised that even in this situation He is working for my good and His glory. He WILL bring good out of this for me. I believe that, but it still hurts.

    This is my most vulnerable area, and just as you say, Satan knows this. When I am focused on my pain, my sorrow, I am not focusing on Christ but on myself. And that’s exactly where the enemy would have me focus! This self-focus keeps me from seeing all the joys the Lord has graciously given me, and it hinders me from praying as I should for the needs of my children, family, friends, etc…

    So very thankful for the Lord’s patience with me as He gently re-focuses my straying eyes, over and over again. And, truly, I long for the day, not when the situation is made right, but when I am able, in all honesty of heart, to thank the Lord for bringing this trial into my life and for the good He has worked through it.

    Blessings to you, Robin, as you continue to fight the good fight and persevere in hope.

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