“…[O]ur God is in the heavens: [H]e hath done whatsoever [H]e hath pleased. (Psalm 115:3)
“Give thanks unto the LORD; for [H]e is good.” (Psalm 136:1)
“Give thanks unto the LORD; for [H]e is…” (Psalm 136:1a.)
The Word of God is so accurate and exacting. In Psalm 115:3, It is written, “…in the heavens…” Scripture teaches that there exists (3) three heavens. The (1st) or lowest is the clouds above us. The (2nd) second is outer space or the stars, and the (3rd) third is God’s Heavenly abode. This means that God rules and reigns in all (3) three heavens! The Word further states in Psalm 23, “Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. God is sovereign over all things, all places, all creation, whether visible or invisible. He reigns over all principalities, powers whether they be corporeal or spirit. He commands that which is living and that which is non-living. Both the good and the evil are subject to His will. All power and authority are in place and are subject in accordance to His will and good pleasure, “He does all things according to His will.” He puts kings upon the throne and He removes kings from the throne. He gives life and takes life as He is so disposed. There is no one that says to Him, “What doeth [T]hou,” There is none that can stay His ruling Hand, or foil His will. Everything in the heavens and under the heavens are His and He asks…rhetorically, “Can I not do what I will with my own?” He says, ” I am God and there is no other.” He says, “The nations are less than nothing before [M]e.” Reader, our God or rather, “My God is so BIG…so STrong and… and so mighTY; there is nothing…NOTHING…NO-THING He cannot do!!!” My God is the God of the impossible, He asks…rhetorically, “Is there anything to difficult for [M]e?
“Well then.” the skeptic or the truly honest or hurting believer may ask, “Why is the world so dark and so evil, Why do bad things happen?” To the scorning skeptic I say…nothing. To the honest and respectful unbeliever I explain that though God is sovereign, this world is a place of evil and a place that lies in wickedness due to the fall. This is a place that is inhabited by people who live to do evil and live to hate. This world is home to those that refuse to do what is right and good and good for them. This is a world that is managed by fallen man and the effect of a fallen world full of sin being managed by fallen man that is sinful inside and out, from head to toe, is a world like we have. I would further explain that those who reject God and refuse what is right and good invariably choose the ways of sin by default and sin will work it’s effects upon them, their life and their loved ones. The [earned] wages of sin is death as are the ways of sin and the path of sin.
I would explain to the hurting Christ-ian that sovereign God uses sin and pain, trials and tribulations to better us and to teach us and to prepare us and that pain is an essential ingredient in our being conformed and transformed into our predestinated Christ-likeness. I would explain that we live and are saved to bring glory to the God we love and the God Who loves us and we will bring Him glory in whatsoever way(s) He chooses.
One can read the events of John chapter (9) nine and see that a man was blind for (38) thirty-eight years for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God when Christ healed his blindness. Lazarus, a friend of the Lord Jesus was allowed to suffer illness and death for the sole purpose of Christ raising him from the dead. This death was allowed for the benefit of His disciples, for God’s glory, to give Christ’s ministry and Word credibility and to instruct and increase our faith.
Our pain is like a women in labour. It hurts much…(I can’t even imagine) but when she is delivered in child-birth the pain is forgotten. We labour in trials but once delivered from the trials and we see what God has done with the trials we forget the pains of the trials as we praise and thank Him. C.S. Lewis said in his book, “The Problem of Pain,” that “Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world.” King David thanked God for afflicting him and he came to learn that the afflictions of life are the signs of God’s faithfulness. God has said, “I hurt that I may heal.”
I believe that what we suffer and endure on this earth, we would gladly suffer if God came to us prior to affliction and said, “Dear One, I am going to bring you into terrible tribulation. You will feel great pain and suffering and feel like I have abandoned you. However, please know that I will never leave thee nor forsake thee and that you will come forth as gold. My grace shall be sufficient and your trial with be worth more to you than gold and silver when you come through it and I will bring you through it, for when the floods rise I will be with you, when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will not fear for I will be with thee. Are you alright with my will, Beloved? Will you trust Me? Will you call upon Me when it gets painful and difficult?” What would you say, reader? The truth is, He has said all of the above to you and me. He has said it and still says it in His Word.
I have asked persons, after they have experienced a trial, if they wish they could have avoided it or are they glad for the trial as they have seen God’s purpose. They have all said, They are thankful for the trial and they felt God draw near them and they have seen the fruits of their affliction being a blessing to others.
Dear reader, a bitter word of truth: The above sounds comforting, I know. The bitter truth is, however, sometimes God will afflict you and He will be silent and feel distant and even absent. The affliction may end and you may never learn His purposes for your pain. These are spiritual possibilities. We can look at Job- Job wondered where God was during his afflictions, and great pain. He wondered where God was as he was losing everything and everyone. He wondered why God allowed his trials.
Though the Book of Job is helpful to the afflicted today and may provide answers and spiritual balm, Job never got a single answer from God to any of his questions. I’m sure Job understands now as he is “forever with the Lord” but he never was given an answer while on this earth. He certainly received great blessings upon great blessings as God is Sovereign and good but God never provided him with a reason or purpose for His afflictions. I know that if God had approached Job and told him of what was to come and how much it would hurt him and then told him of all the lives his afflictions would help and all the glory it would bring to God, Job would have said in tears and heartbreak, “Not my will but Thine will be done” I know this because because he did say, “Though [God] slay me, yet will I trust [H]im.”
C.S. Lewis, after losing his wife, said he felt like God had shut the door in his face when he sought Him. And when he continued to seek God it seemed God had then not only shut the door but bolted it too. Lewis came to learn that instead of grieving and being angry he should be grateful, thankful and happy that he had a wife to love. And He dwelt upon the hope of seeing her again in Heaven.
“If God is good why all the evil?” We would not recognize the goodness of God if not for the evil in this world. One does not see the stunning brilliance of a diamond lest it has the backdrop of black velvet. We would not know the degree with which God HATES SIN lest we see, by faith, the Crucified Son of God paying or being held accountable for our sin(s).
God’s sovereignty and goodness work together as He works all thingS together for our good even if, from our finite perspective, it does not seem good or right.
Sometimes, in God’s wisdom, He allows us to fall so that He might pick us up. We learn from this experience that God is very Present, and we grow to “[know] that tribulation worketh patience; and patience [works] experience; and experience [works] hope and hope maketh [us] not ashamed. In other words, Pain and loss show us that we are strong in the Lord and that we can and will endure our tribulations. Pain and loss reveals strength and this pain and loss grants us experience and this hard earned experience teaches us to hope in God and not to fret or worry for we have seen this before.
Trials and tribulations brought on from a good and sovereign God or brought on by the enemy, with God’s allowance, or when we bring the trouble upon ourselves this will allow us to say with faith, grace and hope, ….”Been there, done that…what’s next”
It is the trials and the tribulations, the pains and the losses that make us who we are. And again, they are the essential and active ingredients in conforming us, transforming us into the like-ness of our Bless-ed Elder Brother.
Therefore, Since God is Sovereign and Good, all that befalls us must be good and it must be for our good and whatever befalls us it must have God’s Sovereign Seal of Approval.