Text – Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God...”
Do all things really work together for good in our lives? Perhaps thinking about the
pandemic or your own health or family issues, you might be forgiven for doubting the
truth of this verse. I would like to use my own personal experience to restore our faith in
the God who loves us and promises only good to those who struggle in this present
time. The verse from Romans helps me to emphasize the Gospel message, the
importance of Christian fellowship and gives me the desire to keep on serving the Lord
1. The Gospel Message!
In the bitter winter and the constant air raids in England in 1941, my father was
desperately ill. The effect of poison gas from the first World War left him with serious
breathing difficulties. The neighbours cried and prayed for him; the clergy were sent for.
There didn't seem to be any good in this situation. However, during his delirium, my
father had a vision of his long-deceased mother who had died when he was only three.
As a result of that vision, we were all sent to Sunday School and it was there that I
heard the Good News of Jesus Christ dying for the sins of the whole world. Later a
missionary from China spoke to us and I remember receiving the call to serve, even
though I was too young to commit myself. It was though, an example of God working
together for good to them that love Him.
2. Christian Fellowship!
The faith, like a garden, needs constant attention. My own experience of helpful
Christian fellowship came in 1952, when like many other fit male 18-year-olds, I was
called up for National Service. In basic training it was hard to think of the good God
gives, especially when I knelt down to say my prayers in a barrack room full of men who
seemed indifferent to the faith! Yet as I progressed in further training and joined the
Regiment in Germany, I was encouraged by the fellowship of other conscripts who
shared the need for prayers and bible study. Eventually, from that Life Guard fellowship,
one became a Congregational Minister, another a Methodist Minister, another a Social
Worker and I started training for the Anglican ministry almost a year after I was
demobilized. Things indeed did work together for good to those who loved God.
Another occasion that tested my understanding of this text occurred in 1965. I had
travelled by dog team with Chris Williams to Ivujivik from our Mission house in
Povungnitk. Unknown to me, one of the guides had TB. Soon afterwards, in January, I
was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and told to report to a hospital in the South. I came to
the Weston Sanatorium in Toronto, where most of the Inuit patients were sent at that
time. Separated from my wife and our then, only daughter was not easy. What was it
that the good Lord had in store for me? Canon James of Baker Lake fame came to see
me almost every day. I tried to keep up the language by telling Markosie Peter about my
fishing net. I knew the right word, I thought and the proper ending for 'my', which would
be plural. However, being nervous, my voice went up and I used the wrong vowel,
saying Nuliarka instead of Nuluaka. Markosie said, “I know your one wife, where do you
keep the other?! (Nulia means wife, Nulua means nets.) For three months I preached in
Inuktitut every Sunday for Canon James. It was a privilege to serve God, even though I
was still a patient.
With all that faces us in this life, God is calling us to keep our Christian calling. The
Good News of Jesus Christ has still to be proclaimed and experienced. Christians need
the support and encouragement of fellow believers. Finally as Jesus sent out the
Twelve, so all of us are called to serve God in our own little way. We know God is good
and all things will work together for good always.