November 9, 2012

Psalm 119:75-76 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.

Everyone has problems of one sort or another; it’s part of being a human being. I am often reminded of Jesus’ statement in John 16:33, that “In this world you will have trouble.” The question is simply how we will respond to our problems. The Psalmist is an excellent example for us, with his unwavering faith. His view of life is on the firm foundation of knowing that God’s rules are right and good, and that everything God does is an expression of His loving, faithful character, whether we enjoy it at the moment or not. The Psalmist has gotten God’s promises into his mind and heart, so his prayer is simply that those promises will be fulfilled. That’s a very secure place to be! When things happen to us, good or bad, it’s wise to ask what God’s purpose is in allowing those things, but that inquiry should be based on the fundamental conviction that God is good and God is right in all He does. Most of the time when we ask “Why?” we are really accusing God of being unfair, and that will get us nowhere. God is never unfair, but our minds can’t grasp all the things God takes into account, so we have to accept His fairness by faith. God famously gave Jeremiah the illustration of a potter, who is not being “unfair” with what he does with the clay, (Jeremiah 18:1-6) and Isaiah used the same image. (Isaiah 29:16; 45:9) It’s no surprise Paul picked up the thread as well. (Romans 9:21) Accusing God will certainly not improve our circumstances, and it will cloud our minds and sour our hearts. Trusting Him will bring comfort, peace, and yes, joy, whatever we may be going through.

I’ve actually been through a good bit, some of which was very unpleasant at the time, but in retrospect, it indeed looks like “light and momentary suffering.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) I still don’t know the reasons for some of the things I’ve experienced, but many of them have fallen into place in the pattern I now see the Lord has been building in me. I certainly don’t see the whole pattern yet, but I should not let that trouble me. As a pastor, I deal with people all the time who are going through things they don’t enjoy, and few of them have the foundation they need for the peace they so desire. I must not put them down for their weakness, but rather remember God’s gentleness with me and remind them of His faithfulness.

Father, thank You for Your patience with me, and for the great privilege of being Your agent to others. Thank You for the comfort and encouragement I was able to impart yesterday. I do pray that each of us in this church would understand the goals You have for us, personally and as a body, for the short and the long term. I pray that I would be more and more the instrument You want me to be, doing Your will in Your way on Your schedule, so that the works of the devil may be torn down in many hearts and lives, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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