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 not ours.
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 momentary troubles.
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 troubles.
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 living testimonies.
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 Russian believers.
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.
This is a timely encouragement for me this morning.
Jesus knew I needed to hear these exact words right now.
I had a troubling dream many years ago regarding the loss of my husband.
Today, circumstances are ripe for this dream to come to fruition.
I have fretted in tears this morning; hoping this is not going to happen.
Your words bring much comfort.
I told this dream to a brother a couple of years ago. I expressed my desire for my husband to change his occupation. The brother responded, your husband's future is
in God's plan. Do not try to coerce him to take a different path. (not his exact reply)
So will it happen? Today? In the future? God knows.
The dream seemed a bit impossible at the time as, my husband wasn't traveling.
Too, in the dream America wasn't the America I knew. The dream foretold situational truths that have recently been implemented and, inforced; though they have lightened these restrictions in much of the nation now. Since this part of the dream has happened, it leads me to think the other part might too.
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