And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 ESV)OK, let's get one thing straight right up front. "All whom the Lord has chosen and received into the society of his saints," John Calvin wrote, "ought to prepare themselves for a life that is hard, difficult, laborious, and full of countless griefs."
So far so good. And yet, in the midst of it, "all things work together for good."
But how do we know all things work together for good? In the passage above, a clue comes in the first word of the second sentence: "For." How do we know all things work together for good? Because they’ve been working together for good all along the way. He foreknew—clearly that was a case of working for our good. He predestined—that was working for our good. He called, justified, glorified (good, good, good).
"If in eternity past, if in the recent past, and if in the distant future all of God's purposes for His people have only been good," Wayne Grudem writes, "then Paul concludes that His purposes at the present time, even in hardship, must also be only good for His people."
Indeed, our hardships in 2008 are simply part of this eternal timeline. He was working for our good in the past; he is working for our good today (when we’re being "conformed to the image of his Son"); and he’s working for our good in the future.
Looks pretty airtight to me.