Grace in Affliction

Knowing God (Paperback) In the Christian life, trials make us cry hard and pray harder.  They make us numb, dumbfounded, and broken-hearted.  Thankfully God in his sovereignty uses the trials, pain, and affliction in our lives in ways that are mind-boggling and unexpected.  As someone else said, God doesn’t waste pain.  He uses it for his glory and the good of his people (Rom. 5:3-5).  Suffering – as hard and hellish as it is – is productive for the Christian.  J. I. Packer stated this quite well:

“How does God in grace prosecute this purpose?  Not by shielding us from assault by the world, the flesh, and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstances, nor by shielding us from trouble created by our own temperament and psychology; but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to him more closely.  This is the ultimate reason, from our standpoint, why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities of one sort and another – it is to ensure that we shall learn to hold him fast.  The reason why the Bible spends so much of its time reiterating that God is a strong rock, a firm defense, and a sure refuge and help for the weak, is that God spends so much of his time bringing home to us that we are weak, both mentally and morally, and dare not trust ourselves to find, or to follow, the right road.  When we walk along a clear road feeling fine, and someone takes our arm to help us, as likely as not we shall impatiently shake him off; but when we are caught in rough country in the dark, with a storm getting up and our strength spent, and someone takes our arm to help us, we shall thankfully lean on him.  And God wants us to feel that our way through life is rough and perplexing, so that we may learn thankfully to lean on him.  Therefore he takes steps to drive us out of self-confidence to trust in himself – in the classical scriptural phrase for the secret of the godly man’s life, to ‘wait on the Lord.’”

J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 227.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI

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