All Things Work Together

I think we've all heard sermons and read books based on Romans 8:28.  And I think it's fair to say that eight out of ten times, the messenger uses the illustration of baking cookies.  Some of the ingredients (such as the chocolate chips) are good and tasty on their own.  Others, like the flour and sugar, are not so great.  However, when all the ingredients, both the good and the bad, are mixed together, they work together for good, right?  You've heard the illustration, I'm sure.

I recently heard it once again, and even though the preacher didn't go any further than this in his illustration, the Lord brought to my mind a deeper thought.  Yes, all things work together for good, just like the ingredients of the cookies, but the process also takes time.

I know some people are content to eat raw cookie dough, but not me.  However, the ten minutes it takes for the cookies to bake is pure torture.  The entire house smells of cookie delight.  My mouth waters.  My stomach growls.  My entire body tenses in anticipation of those heavenly morsels. (Oops, I got a little bit of drool on my keyboard.) And then, even once they've baked, I still have to wait a little for them to cool.  Torture!!!!!  But I understand that the period of cooling off is necessary. One, because the cookies are too hot to handle.  And two, because they have no strength or stability when they're that hot.  To eat them straight from the oven one would almost need a spoon (not that I'm opposed to that, mind you).  And so, I wait, knowing that it will be worth it shortly.

Yes, all things work together for good, but it does take time.  It also takes a fire.  You can eat the cookie dough if you want, but I prefer those nice, hot, gooey cookies after they've been in the heat for a while.  The fire makes them better, just as it does for us.

Yes, all things work together for good, but it takes time, fire and also a period of cooling off.  When we come straight from the fire, we are a lot like those freshly-baked cookies.  We're fragile.  We have little strength and stability.  The fire was good for us, but we need a little bit of time to regain our footing.  Then, after the ingredients have been blended, placed in the fire for a time and given a period of cooling off, we will realize that it was worth every minute of the wait because all things really do work together for good.  We have God's word on it!

Does anybody else suddenly have a craving for chocolate chip cookies?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28