“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
We shall consider, first — WHAT things work for good to the godly; and here we shall show that both the best things and the worst things work for their good.
Do not mistake me, I do not say that of their own nature, the worst things are good, for they are a fruit of the curse. But though they are naturally evil — yet the wise overruling hand of God disposing and sanctifying them — they are morally good. As the elements, though of contrary qualities — yet God has so tempered them, that they all work in a harmonious manner for the good of the universe. Or as in a watch, the wheels seem to move contrary one to another — but all carry on the motions of the watch. Just so, things that seem to move cross to the godly — yet by the wonderful providence of God, work for their good. Among these worst things, there are four sad evils which work for good to those who love God.
1. The evil of AFFLICTION works for good, to the godly.
It is one heart-quieting consideration in all the afflictions which befall us—that God has a special hand in them: “The Almighty has afflicted me” (Ruth 1:21). Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission, than the axe can cut, by itself, without a hand. Job eyed God in his affliction: therefore, as Augustine observes, he does not say, “The Lord gave — and the devil took away,” but, “The Lord has taken away.” Whoever brings an affliction to us, it is God who sends it.