How can Romans 8:28 be true? We quote it so often when life stinks. Some Christians are even tired of hearing it. The verse seems to be an easy answer for pastors to give when we just don't know what to say about a tragic event.
In reality, the verse itself begins to give the answer as to how such an outrageous claim can be true. It is true that all things work for good to those who love God because God has called us according to His purpose. The following two verses elaborate on that theme even more. They let us know that God's complete directing of our salvation is the good in which we can rejoice.
God's plan of saving people begins with His selection of them to receive His special love. Those He foreknows in this way are ones that He also determines to conform to be like Jesus. When we experience pain, loss, suffering, and any other bad thing, we should remember that God uses those experiences to make us more like Jesus than we were previously. In addition to making us like Jesus, God also is the one who declares us right with Him (based on the work of Christ on the cross), effectively calls us to faith in Christ, and grants us eternal life.
God has sacrificed much in order to take care of our eternal issues. It would be inconsistent of God to fail to handle our more immediate, physical problems. In fact, God is in control. He is using our problems to make us like Him. He is using those problems for our good. The promise may seem outrageous to you, but God's proof of the truth of His promise is overwhelming. Accept it as true. Your problems will still exist, but you will be able to see them for the good that God intended in your life.