And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
There are certain sayings that people share so much that they become cliché. The word cliché is from the French. It refers to a part on an old printing press that runs off a copy over and over again. Even in the word itself, you can hear the sound that the old printing press makes as it repeatedly runs off its copies.
Examples? A few years ago, a website came up with a list of common clichés. Coming in at number ten is “Better safe than sorry.” “There’s no time like the present” is number nine. Number six on the list is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Number five is “You cannot please everyone.” “You cannot judge a book by its cover” is number four. Claiming the number three spot is “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “The grass is always greener on the other side” is number two. And coming in at number one for a top ten list of common clichés? “Actions speak louder than words.”
There’s a downside, however, for a saying that reaches the status of cliché. Constant repetition can diminish its impact. “That’s just an old cliché,” people begin to say.
Over the years, many Christians have spoken the words of today’s Bible passage. Often they have made a shorthand reference to the passage by simply saying, “In all things God works for the good.” Usually, the souls who hear these words are hurting in some way. The circumstances might be anything—serious illness, family crisis, financial setback, job loss, natural disaster, death.
The next time it’s our turn to hear these words, the temptation will be strong to dismiss them; to say, “That’s just an old cliché.” When that temptation comes, stop, and listen. Let this Word of God penetrate your mind and heart. It’s a living, breathing promise, sealed in the same blood of Jesus that has washed your every sin away. His Word is not an empty cliché. His Word is truth.
Heavenly Father, in my moments of pain, breathe into me your promise that you work in all things for my good. Amen.