MichaelAngelogodshandandmanshandNone of us are born loving God’s Sovereignty.  We are all born loving our own sovereignty!  God uses afflictions/suffering to heal both sinner and saint, and if we don’t take hold of and really understand that all of our steps are ordered from the Lord, we will become bitter and our faith will become shipwrecked.  Take a moment and meditate on this these words…

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your Word.  It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.  I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.”  Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75

 

I can tell you that it wasn’t until this disability came and parked itself in the middle of my life, did I seriously start to seek what God had to say about what was happening to me.  He showed me that He hadn’t left me in the dark at all about my darkness.  Soon, it will be twelve years since I’ve begun this journey of preparation for whatever God has planned for me.  And believe me when I say I yelled and screamed at God and at everyone else while I was being torn away from the only world I knew.  Every crutch and every comfort I was holding onto for my livelihood was suddenly taken away.  My family, my friends, my job, all the “stuff” I had placed value in seemed like they grew wings and flew away.  I think back on that time and I have no problem describing it as an unmerciful, living nightmare.  Yes dear friends, it was that bad.

But this was God’s appointed time to call out to me, and bring me to Himself.   In my time of deepest despair and misery, mercy found me!  God has truly been so kind to me by bringing suffering people into my life, whether through sermons, books, etc.   These vessels were used to speak into my life and they showed me God’s truth about suffering.  I know that the seeds I have so graciously received must now be sown to others…

What I tell you now in the darknessshout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”  Matthew 10: 27

 

It’s never easy learning about God’s Sovereignty.  His Sovereignty is sometimes very scary, and the knowledge of it is usually born out of a crisis.  If I had to summarize in a few words what I have learned on this journey it would be… “God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves.”  The topic of suffering is something we should all know more about.  The book of Job gives us the most clues about suffering.  Job acknowledges God’s Sovereignty…

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there.  The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Job 1:21

 

Job never questions the Sovereignty of God, but we in the church do.  The book of Job makes it clear that the one thing that cannot be questioned is the Sovereignty of God.  In Job we learn that God speaks to us through afflictions.  We see that afflictions aren’t always here to punish us.  God uses afflictions to turn us from evil; to turn us around, to save and heal us…

“And if they are bound in fetters, held in chords of affliction, then He tells them their work and their transgressions–that they have acted defiantly.  He also opens their ear to instruction, And commands that they turn from iniquity.”  Job 36:8-10

  “He delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears in oppression.”  Job 36:15

 

Oh how suffering has lifted me out of my spiritual slumber!  How many can testify to God delivering you in your affliction?  I can.  We learn from Job that suffering and prosperity are not distributed in proportion to the evil or good people do.  Let’s now look at Joseph…

“Until the time that His Word came: the Word of the LORD tried him.”  Psalm105:19

 

- The NLT says “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.”

 

What does tried mean?  God is always seeking to teach us the way of faith; the discipline of faith, the patience of faith, and the courage of faith are areas and stages we pass through before the victory in our situation comes.  Our character is what develops by enduring the discipline of faith.   The words God spoke into Joseph’s  heart in his earlier years, concerning his elevated place of honor above his brothers, were the words that were always before him.  Joseph held onto God’s Words, despite all of the chaos and disarray of what looked like an impossible situation.  And all the while, God was training Him for the throne of Egypt.  These were times that tried his soul.  They were also times that resulted in increased faith and spiritual toughness.

 

For those who believe in the love and wisdom of a Sovereign God, even a terrible confinement can be a place of building trust.  ”Thank you God for showing us how much we need you.”

Click here to read “God’s Sovereignty in Our Suffering” – Part II