Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Slip of the Chisel

By D'Ann Mateer

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Do you have verses of passages of Scripture that you know, but you don’t know them within the context of the verses that surround them? That happens to me all the time. Then I’ll find myself reading along and think, “I didn’t realize how those two things fit together!” Like pieces of a puzzle they fall into place.

Romans 8 was like that for me this week. Not that I haven’t read Romans 8. At one time or another, I’ve even memorized most of it! But somehow the juxtaposition of verses struck me new.

Just a few verses before the rally cry of “if God is for us, who can be against us” is that hard but hopeful verse 28. “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.”

Even in my knowing that God is working all things for my good (which, by the way, He explains in the next verse that my “good” is being conformed to the image of Christ, not my happiness or my comfort, not my own plans or desires) , I forget the real victory in that. If God is for me, who can be against me? In other words, who can oppose His purposes in my life?

The answer? No one! Whether the Lord walks me through a difficult time, either some consequence of my own sin or some circumstances that I didn’t create, whether He grants or denies my petitions and requests, whether He asks me to wait for a short time or a long one, no one and nothing can thwart the true purposes of God in my life. To conform me to the image of His son. For that conforming is what is ultimately for my good and for His glory.

Obvious, I know, but often the little things trip me up and slow me down. What about you? Are you discouraged today? Weary? Joyful? Frustrated? Content? In all of those things can you find the place where the Lord is doing His work in you, no matter how small? For He is working in it all.

He is for us, not against us. He is shaping us, not destroying us. There is no slip of the chisel in His hand. 

All photos courtesy of


  1. Hi D'Ann,
    beautifully written. I'm glad you pulled out the meaning of 'my good'. That's a clear reminder of the meaning behind the verse.

    Romans is a powerful book that should be studied over and over.

    Sometimes I get frustrated just because I want the things in me that I don't like to be 'gone' faster. Not that I like the purging/chipping away process! I don't want the chisel as much as I want the end result, right?


  2. Lovely and very well-balanced perspective. I needed this today. I had a little "iron sharpening iron" incident at church this week, but I know that God is working in it and through it, so this gives me some peace and confidence to face my morning.

  3. Amen and Amen, D'Ann. Thank you so much!

  4. Hey Deb, Dina, and Lisa! Happy Sunday morning to you!

    Since I write my devotionals straight from what I'm wrestling with or learning, its always encouraging to know that I'm not alone in those things! I'm so glad the Lord orchestrates it so that we can help each other!

  5. Good morning, D'Ann. This was very "spot on" and really speaks to me this morning. Thank you.

  6. Good afternoon, D'Ann and Inkyvillers,

    I love Romans and I haven't read it for awhile. I think this is the reminder I needed. Time to revisit that book of the Bible.

    Last night I finished reading a very well crafted and very disturbing book by Dennis Lehane called Shutter Island. I read voraciously all things with a mental health plot. Be warned that it contains rough language and I found it both fascinating and depressing, and at times horrific. It is not for anyone who wants an uplifting read. It is historical (1950's)about mental patients and treatment on Shutter Island.

    The scripture you picked, D'Ann was perfect for me today because it magnfied what I should be doing with my writing. And that's providing hope. If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

    The trouble I had with Lehane's book is that it was so without God, without hope. Yes, it was realistic, but at what price to the human psyche and soul? I feel sorry for people who read this and have no connection with God. And yet there are those very sad places in life that feel hopeless. But I think we need to dig deeper, or I need to dig deeper in these instances for I think Shutter Island was an island of despair and the sins committed there in the name of science, within the realm of fiction are a sad reminder of the past.

    Wow. I didn't mean to be so long but I guess the book is so stuck in my head that I'm trying to work through some aspects of it. I hope I can write something hopeful that will stick in readers heads that they want to work through.

    Have a great day and thanks for this post, D'Ann.

  7. Glad you found something helpful, Susie.

    I love Romans, too, Jill. It's so meaty and practical. Of course when I was still in the "milk" stage of my faith, it seemed like just a lot of words. As I've grown in my faith, I find myself coming back to it again and again.

  8. Hi! This blog is amazing - and this post? Amazing. I found yall when I was researching some scripture or another and became a fan / lurker. Keep it up - this is encouraging stuff, right here!

  9. So glad you stumbled into Inkyland, Bex! We're all just pilgrims on the journey together, but I'm so glad we can help each other!


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