Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Romans 8:28 and Gilpin's Broken Leg

Image:  Bernard Gilpin (1517-1583)

Last Sunday morning, I had the privilege to preach on "A verse that has blessed many" (Romans 8:28).  Here is one of the applications from the message which included an illustration from the life of Bernard Gilpin. 

We should remember this verse when we face unpleasant and difficult circumstances.

Sometimes we might need to write it on a card and keep it in our wallet or our pocket and read it over and over throughout our day. We need to memorize it, hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against God.

This verse tells us that God orchestrates all things for the good of his saints. Even things that might be painful and initially appear to be only evil, God is pleased to use for our good.

Recently in our family devotions we read the story of Bernard Gilpin (in the children's book, How God Used A Snowdrift). Gilpin was a faithful minister who lived during the time that the gospel was being rediscovered in England. The Catholic Queen Mary was on the throne, and she and her officials were persecuting the men and women who had come to embrace the gospel. One day Gilpin received a summons to go to London to be tried by court officials who were burning Protestants at the stake. When he left home his friends thought they would never see him alive again.

On the way to London, however, Gilpin fell in an accident and broke his leg. In those days this was a serious injury. Gilpin had to stay where he was and wait for several months for the leg to heal before he could travel to London to stand trial. At that time someone asked, “Do you think this is all for the best?” And Gilpin replied, “I have no doubt of it.”

Sure enough, while he was waiting for the leg to heal, Mary died, and her sister Elizabeth, a Protestant, came to the throne, and the persecution of ministers stopped. Rather than going to London to his death, when his leg healed, Gilpin returned home in safety.

Perhaps there have been painful things that have happened in your life. Things far worse than a broken leg. Things you do not undertand. But God’s Word promises us today that our Father works all things together for our good.

Matthew Poole states that the "for good" in Romans 8:28 means it is “sometimes for our temporal good,” but, even when we do not see the temporal good, it is “always for spiritual and eternal good, which is best of all. All occurrences of providence shall serve to bring [the saints] nearer to God here, and to heaven hereafter.”


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