(I ran across this old post from 2010 that means a lot more to me today after being a widow for six months. I remember what it felt like to see my father smiling down at me (he was 6:5). I knew he would protect and provide for me and that helps me visualize God as my loving Father who smiles kindly even though my circumstances are horribly lonely right now.)
Sometimes we all need help to apply: “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). What losses are you grieving this January day?
We need to make sense of this verse first, fit it into the sovereignty of God. I don’t mean figuring out “Why is this happening to me?….” but seeing that a Father’s love is always back of our life’s events. A father who is kind, patient, full of mercy, and good will. One who smiles..
Your circumstances are tugging at your heart, at a cross with what you desire…revealing discontent, bitterness, anger. You are blocked in, there’s not much you can do to change things. The key is to see the sovereign God as your loving Father. He is your Father because you are “in Christ.” You have been forgiven and declared perfect. Everything is all right between you and God. You are covered by Jesus’ sinless life and His sacrifice and suffering on the cross (Romans 3-5). God cares about you even though what is happening to you is not what you want right now.
WORKING IT OUT
Getting hold of these biblical teachings and making them our own helps change our attitude about what is happening to us. You have to think those concepts out, work them like kneading bread. That “attitude adjustment” makes all the difference. After this understanding and acceptance, we will feel it in our hearts when the Holy Spirit comforts and consoles us, and our love for the Lord Jesus wells up within us.
The following is my paraphrase from several letters written by Samuel Rutherford in the 1630’s. His circumstances weren’t what he wanted either. He was in prison for his refusal to go along with all the Anglican Church’s demands.
Let God make of you what he wants. He will end all with comfort, and shall make glory out of your sufferings.
Let not the Lord’s dealing seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly just because it is unpleasant for you right now.
When what the Lord wants crosses with what you want, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to him and to be willing to go any way He pleases. It is a point of denial of yourself, to be as if you didn’t have a will,to sail along with him.
You don’t know right now what the Lord is working out of this, but you will know one day.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it like this,
“Behind a frowning providence, is a Father’s face.”
Be a good first mate. Tend the sails to the course the captain has determined. Don’t forget to express your concerns and to make requests of Him along the way, but don’t buck against His headings. It makes for a much happier ship.