And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
This verse is probably in the top ten list of verses of Scripture that are taken out of context. People love the phrase that "all things work together for good." This wonderful phrase has to be understood in the context of the rest of the words around it. Many people claim that if they are Christians everything is supposed to go the way they want it, after all, things are to work together for good..
Let's look a little more closely at this verse. First of all, the verse is talking about those who love God. Those who love God are people who want God's will to be done, not their own. People who love God are those who live for God's glory, not their own glory. So, the first thing we need to understand is that this verse is only talking about those who desire God's glory, not selfish seekers of their own glory.
Secondly, we see that things work together for good. No where does this verse imply that the workings of our lives will always feel good. There are times in our lives where we will encounter great tribulation, persecutions, sickness, sorrow, and suffering. Paul has talked in great detail in the epistles about a life of suffering that he has encountered. And it has been for the good!
Finally, we see in this verse that this promise of all things working together for good is for those who are called according to God's purpose. This is a reference to the elect. These are genuine Christians. They are called unto God and God's purpose is to be what leads the decisions of these people who are elect. This will ultimately lead to God being glorified, which is always for our good.
Be careful that you do not look to God to make everything feel good. His promise is to work things for your good, regardless of how that feels. Live for his glory. It will ultimately also be for your good.