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     And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom. 8:28-32

Dear Lord Jesus, every word of the Bible, in one way or another, is ultimately about you. Every command drives me to you. Every promise is fulfilled in you. Every story “whispers your name,” points to your glory, and proffers your grace.

Yet there are some Scriptures that have become “homeroom” to me—like a favorite chair, pub, walking path, or scenic view. To go there puts everything into perspective. Romans 8:28-32 is just such a place. All the Immanuel promises, all the carols and hymns of Advent converge right here. The hopes and fears of all my years converge in these words.

Lord Jesus, your presence and your presents are all that I need, much more than I realize, and way beyond all I could have ever hoped for or imagined.

You are working in all things for your glory and for my good—in the obvious and in the not-so-obvious; in my gains and in my pains; in what I “get” and in the things which seem to contradict what I know; when I’m “feeling the love” and when I’m feeling very lonely; when the gospel makes all the sense in the world to me and when I’m tempted to say with John the Baptist, “Are you the Messiah, or should we be looking for another?”

Absolutely nothing can separate us from your love, for we’ve been called according to the Father’s purpose—which will never fail or disappoint. He set his affection upon us before the world began, and God continue to provide everything necessary to complete the work of the gospel in our lives, and in the entire creation. You made us for yourself; and one Day we will be fully like you and with you forever.

Right in the middle of Advent, I rest in this good news, marinate in this glory, boast in these riches, and smile the smile grace alone can give. So very Amen I pray, in your lovely and loving name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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