Adversity

“Like a Weaned Child”: Trusting God When Life Hurts (Part 2)

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Lesson #1: The trials envisioned and trust enjoined by this text are not extraordinary but normative for the covenant community.

The command to “hope” in verse three is very common throughout the Bible, especially in contexts of hardship, suffering, and persecution (e.g., Lam 3:24, 26). Thus, the Psalmist is not calling God’s people to do something extra-ordinary. He’s calling them to live a life of faith in a sin-cursed world. And that’s the kind of world we live in. As a result, trials and tragedies are not rare, but rather they are part of life (Job 5:7; 1 Peter 4:12). We may not all suffer the same trials. We may not all face the same mysteries. But sooner or later, God will bring difficulty into our life that we may not understand. Trusting God in such circumstances is what the Christian life is all about!

Lesson #2: God often intends the afflictions of one member for the good of the whole community.

In Psalm 119:71, David says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn [God’s] statutes.” But it was not only good for David’s soul. It was also good for the entire community of Israel. God afflicted David, so that David might encourage God’s people to trust in the Lord. Such was also Paul’s experience—2 Corinthians 1:4: “[God] comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.”

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“Like a Weaned Child”: Trusting God When Life Hurts (Part 1)

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? For example, what do we say when a Christian mother backs the car over the top of her little toddler crushing him to death? When a Christian man discovers he has brain cancer and must soon leave his three young children without a father? When a hurricane destroys the homes and disrupts the lives not only of unbelievers but also of believers? Perhaps you’ve asked that question while undergoing personal trial or tragedy. You’ve lost a loved one or gone through a heart-rending divorce or contracted a chronic illness or been betrayed by a Christian friend. The Lord has dealt bitterly with you, as He did with Naomi, and you desperately want to know “Why?”

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Pray With the Psalms – A Transforming Practice for the Follower of Jesus

"I’ve been praying the Psalms, in some form, for almost 40 years now. Over those years, through seasons of ecstatic joy and abiding sorrow, I have experienced the Word-at-work-in-the-Psalms faithfully forming me, and forming so many others, toward Christlikeness." - Dan Wilt

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Knowing the Sovereignty of God through Suffering, Part 2

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My comfort in suffering comes from the knowledge that God ordains my suffering for my eternal good and his glory. It is not enough to say that God allows my suffering. After all, why would God allow something if it wasn’t for the best. For God to allow something would imply that another force of equal or greater power was the actual cause of my suffering. That is clearly not the case. So, the all-wise God must be the prime cause of my suffering, and if He is all-loving and all-powerful, then He ordains it for my good and fully controls it. 

Some may ask, how is that comforting??? I am comforted by the truth of God’s all-wise and sovereign ordination of my suffering because I know that none of it is wasted, and I do not suffer one more second than God ordains. Every second of my suffering is precisely what God knows I need to grow in holiness. Romans 5:3-5 reminds us:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

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Knowing the Sovereignty of God through Suffering, Part 1

“More bad news.” Throughout my nine-month ordeal with the brain tumor and lymphoma there were few positive developments. Even what we thought were positive developments turned out to be false hopes. My wife and I felt like we were slowly descending into an abyss. I felt like I was slipping down a steep slope to death, which lay at the bottom with its mouth open for me like a yawning chasm. I wanted to stop and get off the ride, but this wasn’t a ride, and I couldn’t stop anything. I had no control.

Control. That was the illusion I missed the most. I say “illusion,” because we should all be painfully aware that we have control over absolutely nothing in our lives. Zip, zilch, nada. Yet the illusion is so strong that it is almost irresistible. The consequences of maintaining that illusion are serious.

We think that we can avoid difficulty by living wisely, eating healthy foods, and exercising; yet, even healthy people drop dead suddenly. We think that if we follow God’s directions for rearing children and we try to be the best parents possible that our children will never wander from God. We think that if we work diligently to be the best in our vocation we can protect ourselves from economic hardship; yet, something like the Coronavirus can turn the economy on its head in a matter of weeks, leaving us jobless.

The truth is we have no real control of our lives. Thankfully, that does not mean that no one is in control. Christians have always confessed that God is sovereign, that is as the Westminster Confession of faith says:

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