Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
The 4 Pillars of Pastoral Work
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
10 Ideas For Keeping Lent
Wed Mar 05, 2014
by Winfield Bevins
Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss
These words from Psalm 71, while most fitting on the lips of Christ, are nonetheless words for us in tough times. As someone once said, poetry is for those who need it.
Consider verses 19 - 21:
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
Trial and Suffering for His Glory
Calvin said, "Ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it." The Psalmist would agree. His happiness is in the knowledge that the righteous God of verse 19 is the very God who makes us see the many and bitter troubles of verse 20.
Our trials are not due to randomness or fallenness or dark powers (though they no doubt play their part), but are known by our righteous, loving heavenly Father. He is not surprised by our troubles, but ordains them; he is not helpless in the midst of them, but sustains us and brings from them his sovereign and praise-worthy purposes. As he has most certainly restored the life of his Christ (v 20), so he will most certainly restore the life of all who are in his Christ by faith.
Despite often leading us through the valley of the shadow of death, we praise him who works out all things for our good.
Expressing similar sentiments to Psalm 71 is Psalm 119:75-77:
I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
God's Unfailing Love Gives Us No Reason to Fear
Our affliction is from our sovereign God, but so is our comfort. His love is unfailing, and so we have nothing to fear. Ignorance of this causes misery, while knowledge of it brings happiness, no matter our affliction. God sovereignly governs every atom of the universe for the best advantage of Christians. We may struggle to see that now, but in eternity we will see it clearly and will praise God eternally for it. Maybe we think it's a cop-out to praise God for the blessings we have in the heavenly places—somehow it seems we're cheating and that "spiritual" blessings are "unreal," just something to hide in when life is hard going. When spiritual blessings are seen through the eye of faith, there is nothing more real.
What more could we want than every spiritual blessing in Christ? Especially when life seems so fragile and temporal. What more is there to praise God for than all he blesses us with in Christ? There is no more. Despite often leading us through the valley of the shadow of death, we praise him who works out all things for our good (Rm. 8:28). In God's Providence is our happiness.