How Romans 8:28 Offers Comfort and Hope for Parents

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

God works out all things for good because he loves you, Katie.” My college friend offered these words not long after receiving news that my dad had cancer. She intended them as comfort, but I cringed when she said it. There was only one “good” outcome in my mind – that Dad would live. In my feeble faith, I feared God might deem some other outcome as “good,” so rather than clinging to this truth, I held the words at bay. My Father passed away a few years later, and my distaste for this verse remained because I could not fully trust in God’s sovereign goodness

That changed when I became a mother.  

As a mom for over 22 years now, this verse is one that I cling to every single day. I have learned that I cannot be the parent God has called me to be without a deep understanding of God’s good and loving sovereignty. That may seem extreme, but this doctrine deeply impacts our perspective, offering enormous hope and comfort as we love the children God has placed in our care. 

Parents Are Not Saviors: God is Sovereign Over Your Child’s Salvation 

Paul writes to the Gentile and Jewish Christians that for those who love God and are called according to his purpose, all things work together for good. These qualifiers bookend the middle part of this verse which is so commonly used in the face of suffering and tragedy. 

The promise here is for those who love God with their whole heart and have been called by him. These words are a balm for all who have put their trust in Jesus for their salvation, believing that he died for their sins and rose again victorious over the grave. Do not listen to anyone who tries to twist this verse to fit their own understanding. 

For example, some will say that if you’re a Christian, this verse means that all things will become good. That’s not what this verse says. My dad’s death was not good, even though in his mercy, God used it to draw me to himself. The text here means exactly what it says: If you love Jesus and have been called by him, all things work together for your good

The challenge is that many believing parents agonize over whether their child really does loves Jesus. Filled with fear, they wonder if their child may not be called according to God’s purpose. I have been there, parent. I know how deep this worry runs. How, then, is this verse a comfort in parenting if all I do is fret over my child’s salvation, or if I am not convinced my child is saved?

Dear parent, with tenderness and empathy, I urge you to not become fixated over your child’s ultimate disposition toward God or his calling of them. This is not easy at all, but God made your responsibilities as a parent clear. You are to show your child God’s love, to teach them what the Bible says about who he is, and to talk about how those who are in Christ are secure (Deut. 6). Bear testimony to the times in your life when you have felt and reacted to this ultimate, unshakeable love from God. This is what you are called to as a Christian parent. 

Do you see the freedom and the comfort in this? It is not up to you to be the Savior of your child. Relinquish your fear into the hands of a God who loves beyond understanding. Your responsibility is not to make your child love Jesus. You cannot do that. 

I say not to be overly concerned with their “ultimate” disposition toward God because, friends, we cannot know the time in which the seeds planted today might begin to grow and flourish. You may witness your child’s dedication to God this year or in the next decade. But it also may be that repenting from sinful ways and clinging to Jesus may take your child a lifetime. 

Your children are learning from your own deep love of Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on him, lean into him, and love Jesus above all else, including your children. As you talk to your kids about God’s love and pray for their relationship with the Father, know that seeds are being planted that God will use for his great purposes. 

Our Parental Plans are Flawed: God is Sovereign Over Your Child’s Story

We like to know that all things work together for our good if we can determine what that “good” is. When our idea of good doesn’t match God’s, we tend to question his ways or doubt his love for us. 

Paul explains himself in the very next verse. What is good for believers is “to be conformed to the image of his son…” (vs. 19). 

God orchestrates everything to make his children more like himself. It’s the process that Christians call sanctification, and it’s a process that is good even when it includes hardship. Sanctification is the transformation of a believer to be more like Christ. This transformation happens through our study of his Word, our worship of him, and our trust in Jesus through every hard and joy-filled experience in this life. 

In essence, this verse reminds us that our life is one grand story, and through all things that happen in it, we are becoming more like Jesus. It is not that God works some things for our good, but all things (read that again – all things) in this life come together to create one redemptive story that has been written by our loving and sovereign God.  

Imagine watching the story of your child’s life painted by a brilliant and gifted artist. A blank canvas has every potential and possibility in the world, and as the artist begins, you feel a sense of anticipation as beautiful colors and various strokes are creatively added. 

But as the artist proceeds, the intentional strokes of the brush don’t always make sense to the onlooker. Why would he use that color there? And what in the world is he adding up here? The artist’s decisions, at times, seem nonsensical, but when he finally steps back to reveal his work, he reveals a breathtaking masterpiece.

God holds the brush, parent. The strokes may not always make sense to us, and in this life, we may only see glimpses of the culminating work. But you can trust that what your Heavenly Father is doing in the life of your child is profoundly loving and utterly God-honoring. Every detail that is added has both temporal significance and eternal benefits. 

Believing this fully is hard to do. And Jesus knows that. So, ask him – everyday – to strengthen your trust in him. Ask boldly for him to provide glimpses of his ongoing and good work in your child. Watch and see in faith what he reveals. 

Trust God’s sovereign process, Mom and Dad, and know that one day we will see the full, grand masterpiece. When we do, it will be clear that every seemingly misplaced stroke was there to create something that is extraordinarily beautiful and exceedingly good.

We hope you’ll consider joining us for our 2024 Rooted Conference in Dallas, TX.

Katie is a writer, teacher, and speaker. She is married to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in St. Louis, MO, and is a mother to three wonderful kids. Katie works as the Director of Music Ministries and Special Events at Trinity and writes for several Christian ministries and organizations. She received her Master of Arts in Theology from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. More information can be found on her website at

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