The gospel is…the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a right relationship with God. – Graeme Goldsworthy

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Difficult Seasons of Providence

Have you ever gone through a season of life wherein you know God’s in control, but His providence feels cruel? You want answers, but none seem to come. You know what the Bible says, but your emotions quickly interpret your suffering as a cruel joke – making it hard not to pray in human angst and even anger, “God, why are You doing this to me? Why are you letting this happen?”

To be a Christ-follower means to have this experience multiple times in our journey to the Celestial City. For those in such a place now – and for future moments of this testing of your faith – I offer wisdom from a great pastor and reformer from church history.

“Sometimes the causes of the events [of life] are hidden. So the thought creeps in that human affairs turn and whirl at the blind urge of fortune; or the flesh incites us to contradiction, as if God were making sport of men by throwing them about like balls. It is, indeed, true that if we had quiet and composed minds ready to learn, the final outcome would show that God always has the best reason for his plan: either to instruct his own people in patience, or to correct their wicked affections and tame their lust, or to subjugate them to self-denial, or to arouse them from sluggishness; again, to bring low the proud, to shatter the cunning of the impious and to overthrow their devices. Yet however hidden and fugitive from our point of view the causes may be, we must hold that they are surely laid up with him, and hence we must exclaim with David: ‘Great, O God, are they wondrous deeds that thou hast done, and thy thoughts toward us cannot be reckoned; if I try to speak, they would be more than can be told’ [Ps. 40:5].”

He continues a short time later along these same lines…

“When dense clouds darken the sky, and a violent tempest arises, because a gloomy mist is caste over our eyes, thunder strikes our ears and all our senses are benumbed with fright, everything seems to us to be confused and mixed up; but all the while a constant quiet and serenity ever remain in heaven. So we must infer that, while the disturbances in the world deprive us of judgment, God out of the pure light of his justice and wisdom tempers and directs these very moments in the best-conceived order to a right end.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion: Volume 1 (211)

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