If the knowledge that God is able is not enough encouragement, nothing will suffice. Whatever the situation, whatever the circumstance, whatever the trial, whatever the fiery furnace, God is able. Couple this knowledge with the promise that all things work together for good to those who love God, and there is nothing in heaven, on earth, or under the earth that can shake you, cause you to tremble, or cause you to flee.
Now, before anyone accuses me of contradicting myself, there
is a second part to that verse in Romans we all like to quote, and that’s the
hitch in the fluffy clouds doctrine. All things do work together for good to
those who love God and those who are called, but according to His purpose and
You don’t get to define the good, nor does your purpose
supersede God’s purpose.
On the plus side, the purpose of a regenerated, born-again
individual and the purpose of God are always aligned. The unregenerate
individual, however, will never see their present circumstance as a means of
bringing glory to God, for they cannot know Him.
Paul makes this clear in his second letter to the Corinthians
when he reminds them that their light and momentary troubles are achieving an
eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Although the context is always
important, understanding what Paul had suffered for the cause of Christ is
vital since it allows us to better understand what he means by light and
To begin with, five times he received forty stripes minus
one. He then goes on to relay that he was beaten with rods three times, stoned
once, shipwrecked three times, and even spent a night and day in the deep.
Often hungry, thirsty, sleep deprived, cold, naked, and constantly in peril,
these cumulative experiences are what he deemed as light and momentary
As the old saying goes, if you think you’ve got it rough, let
me tell you a story about someone I know.
When the children of God go through suffering, it is not
purposeless. When they suffer persecution at the hand of the godless, though
they may not see it at the moment, they trust that they will glorify God
through their suffering.
Anecdotal as they might be, I have reams and reams of
notebooks filled with testimonies of believers who were imprisoned, beaten, and
tortured for their faith, and whether shortly thereafter or many years hence,
they saw the fruit of their suffering. They saw the plan and purpose of God,
and they rejoiced, knowing that souls were saved because they had been as
Before we get into the how and why, I want to clarify two
things, the first is that you don’t go looking to be persecuted; persecution
will find you in due course if you desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.
Second, you are blessed only when you are persecuted because of righteousness.
If you’re caught throwing rotten tomatoes at a politician,
you’re not being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. If your neighbor reports
you for going hog wild on his tires with an ice pick because he ran over your
lawn, that’s not suffering for righteousness, either.
When God intervenes, it is always supernatural. What I mean
by this is that no amount o human ingenuity, willpower, connections, or
ministrations could have successfully gotten you out of your predicament, be it
a lion’s den or a fiery furnace.
But what if there were guys with fire extinguishers nearby
and men with tranquilizer darts lining the pit? Extinguishers did not exist at
the time, nor did tranquilizer darts. The point is, the manner in which God
saves us is so extraordinary that the human mind can’t puzzle out how exactly
what happened, happened.
One of my favorite stories from when my grandfather smuggled
Bibles was him driving to the border into Ukraine with a car filled to the brim
with Bibles in Russian. He got stopped by a patrol, the officer shining his
flashlight throughout the vehicle, then in my grandfather’s face asking what he
was doing and where he was going. My grandfather answered that he had a carful
of Bibles, and he was going to Russia. The officer shone his light through the
car again and, seeing nothing, made the international sign for this guy’s a bit
nutty to his partner and bade my grandfather be on his way.
The car had been full of Bibles. All he’d seen was an empty
interior. Those Bibles had made the trek from Sweden, having gone through
numerous hands, and eventually, by God’s grace, they made it into the hands of
God never tires, He is never away from the office, He is
never feeling under the weather or otherwise engaged insofar as being present
in His children’s time of need. You were called according to His purpose, not
yours. He, not you, defines the good for which all things work.
The why of it is simpler still: For His glory! God intervenes not for your flesh but for His glory.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.