by Shannon Caughey
Every coach knows difficulty, disappointment, and pain. It comes with tough losses and challenging seasons. More significantly, we may have experienced personal tragedy or walked with athletes or fellow coaches who encountered especially hard circumstances. Whether sports-related or in another area of life, these tough situations tend to make us ask, “Why did this happen?”
We often do not receive an answer to the “why?” question—at least not on this side of eternity. Yet we can walk through pain and difficulty with the type of confidence needed to sustain us and keep us moving forward. This is an essential quality as we seek to live and coach as Jesus desires and for his glory. Where does this confidence come from? We turn again to Romans 8, where we find a well-known verse that points us to what we can be sure of when our faith is in Christ: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
According to Romans 8:28, here’s what we know:
We know that God is at work. God is not a far-off, passive observer of what is happening. God is always at work in our lives and in this world. He is “caus[ing] everything to work together,” which points to his sovereign control and his power. There is never a time in which he is not unfolding his plan. No matter how difficult the situation, we can be confident that God is at work.
We know that God works through all things to carry out his purpose. What the Apostle Paul expresses in Romans 8:28 reflects a theme we see throughout Scripture: God can redeem any situation, using it to carry out his good purpose. While God does not cause sin and evil—these come about through humankind’s rebellion against God—he is able to move his purpose forward through all that happens. In Genesis, Joseph experienced significant hardship after his brothers, because they were jealous of him, sold him into slavery. But over time Joseph saw how God was working, and years later he was able to say to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Gen. 50:20). We likewise can be confident that God works through everything to carry out his purpose.
We know that God works for our good. The purpose God is working out is for our ultimate good. He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God.” The next verse in Romans 8 expresses the central dimension of the good purpose God is working to bring about in us: “to become like his Son.” The more we grow in becoming like Jesus, the deeper we experience the fullness of life that comes with walking closely with Christ in love. Even in the most painful situations, we can remain confident that God is working for our good.
When we go through difficult times in coaching and life, we can wonder exactly how God is working. We long to know what good God is bringing about, because the hardship of the situation makes it difficult to see. Romans 8:28 does not guarantee that God will quickly reveal this to us—or even make it known to us at all on this side of eternity. But God promises that he is always at work, and his work is always for our ultimate good. Even when we don’t yet see it, we can remain confident in the Lord.
You may be currently experiencing difficulty or disappointment. Or you may encounter painful circumstances in the days to come. To be a Romans 8 coach is to remain confident in God in the midst of these hard situations. Keep loving God and living out his calling to trust and follow Christ right where he has you. Hold fast to the truth of Romans 8:28.
For reflection: Take a few minutes to meditate on the truth of Romans 8:28—“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Let this fuel your confidence in God.