Scripture Journal Challenge: Not Everything IS Good

Romans is a dense book full of quotable verses often taken out of context.

Today’s verses include some of the most hopeful and, frankly, hurtful verses tossed at broken hearts.

“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)

Often this verse is shared by well-meaning friends who want us to “look on the bright side”. They can’t comprehend that the darkness of child loss is so complete our hearts can’t imagine light still exists.

Joe Amon via Getty Images

But when you see that verse and the ones that follow in context, a heart can find a foothold.

A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.

Romans 8: 26-30 VOICE

Paul has laid a foundation earlier in chapter eight for the Spirit’s work in the life of the redeemed. The Holy Spirit testifies to our sonship, is a down payment on what’s to come, informs us that all creation is waiting for redemption and prays for us when we don’t know how or what to pray for ourselves.

As we align our hearts with the heart of God, our will conforms to His and we are positioned to receive even the hard things of life as having passed through His loving hands.

Not all things are good.

Let’s just get that out of the way right now.

Sin has infected every aspect of life on earth. Disease, genetic mutation, environmental destruction, people’s personal foolishness, sin and cruelty all add up to awful outcomes.

The sting of death has been removed but the fact of death remains.

Frankly, life is hard.

But all those things that are outside the perfect will of God-the pain, the heartache, the destruction, the awful, awful sadness-aren’t outside His power of redemption.

He takes those dark moments, months, years, LIFETIMES and weaves them into a beautiful tapestry that ultimately displays His glory and our transformation into the likeness of Jesus.

I am a co-heir with Christ.

One day I will look more like Him than I ever thought I would.

And it will be the pressure of pain and struggle that squeeze me into the mold of His likeness.

Not everything IS good, but everything will work TOWARD good.

You can take that to the bank.


  • Have you ever had “all things work together for good” tossed at you? How did it make you feel?
  • Does seeing that verse in context make it easier to read/digest? Why or why not?
  • I personally find great comfort in this whole chapter. Knowing that even creation is subjected to the effects of sin and decay helps my heart put my own experience into perspective. If you’d like to read more about how I’ve been able to do that read here:
  • Being conformed to the likeness of Christ is painful, regardless of how the pressure comes. Can you see how the pain of child loss has molded your heart into a closer approximation of the heart of Jesus? Why or why not?
  • Why is it important to make a distinction between the idea that everything that happens is good versus the idea that everything that happens (good or bad) can be used by God FOR good?
  • I remember that dark morning just having no words. I think all I could manage was to repeat the names of God. When has the Holy Spirit prayed for you? Are you encouraged by the idea that even if you don’t know what or how to pray, He has you covered?


Lord, I know people don’t mean to do it but it hurts my heart when they toss Your words at me like a volleyball expecting me to just hit it back and act like nothing’s happened.

My world stopped. My heart was shattered. Child loss is not good. You can use it FOR good, but it is not good.

Thank You that Paul was a faithful scribe and put Your truth in context. Thank You that I can look up all the verses and see that the message You gave him was not that ALL things are good, but rather that even the awful, heartbreaking, terrible things can be USED for good in Your loving, sovereign hands.

Give me the courage to trust You with even this. Help me lean in and take hold of an eternal perspective so I can endure patiently. Give me strength to finish strong. And when the process of conforming me to the image of Christ seems too hard to bear, remind me that You are here and will give me sufficient grace.


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

9 thoughts on “Scripture Journal Challenge: Not Everything IS Good”

  1. I was praying so hard and hanging on the the hope of Romans 8:28 throughout my son’s battle with Leukemia. I’m not angry at God choosing not to intervene to save my son 3 months ago from dying, I just don’t understand and don’t see any “good” in this at all. When we get to Heaven, it will be made clear to us – Melanie, Thank you for your posts like this, it is so helpful and comforting to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart hurts for you dear one. I’m thankful your heart is tender toward the Lord. Often the good won’t be anything we see this side of Heaven. But I truly believe that one day we will be displayed for all creation to see as evidence of God’s enabling and sustaining grace. Our enemy will be more than defeated because he will see that no matter what he threw at us, God’s purpose and love prevailed. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hang on to the first verse…the spirit groans for me…because I still don’t pray often…I also hang on to the translation of “God works for the good of those who love him.” Makes more sense to me than the other one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome, amazing… you always speak right to my heart,.. I have had the verse hanging on a suncatcher since my miscarriage in 1985.I have struggled with it forever…. but clung to my faith that God is good… When my son died of cancer in 2015, I nearly smashed that suncatcher! It did survive my wrath.. because that was the only memory of my little angel in heaven…. with counseling, tears, prayers, and more tears, I have clung to my faith.. your words always soothe my soul❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so thankful your heart has held on, dear mama. It’s so hard when awful things happen to keep clinging to truth. May the Lord continue to give you the grace to see those words and know they are true, know they will one day be proven true to our eyes as well as our hearts. I honestly believe that God mourns over the terrible things His children walk through as much as we do. His redemption, restoration and resurrection will obliterate the pain and sorrow. These tears here will be the last tears we have to shed. Can’t wait! ❤


    1. I’m with you. I have to remind my heart nearly every single day that there IS a bigger picture. Life is hard in so many ways for so many people. I pray that the Lord continues to give you the strength to hold onto hope. May He hold you close and whisper courage to your heart. ❤


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