This came in my email today and it was a good reminder. Keep reading...
I read this sentence in a pamphlet titled, “Honey Out of the Rock,” by Puritan Thomas Wilcox, “Judge not Christ's love by providences, but by promises.”
Experiences are very powerful. They often feel more powerful than promises. So it's tempting to interpret prosperity and ease as God's blessing and tribulation as God's displeasure. And sometimes they are. But often they are not.
Actually, what we see all the way through the Bible is the Lord training his disciples to trust his promises more than providences. Think of Abraham and Sarah waiting for Isaac, or Jacob losing Rachel, or Joseph in slavery and prison, or Job's suffering, or David running from Saul. Think of Lazarus and the heartbreak of his death and the constant tribulations of Paul. And of course Jesus set the ultimate example by looking to the joy set before him as he endured the cross (Heb 12:2). Strange, isn't it? In the Bible pain is often the path to unspeakable joy and prosperity is often an obstacle to it. What's going on?
Simply, God wants us to treasure what we can't see more than what we can. “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18). And we find out that it's pain more than prosperity that makes us look for what our eyes can't see, and long for a satisfaction that doesn't exist in this world.
So Thomas Wilcox's advice is worth heeding. For those of us who are experiencing a bitter providence, Wilcox goes on to say,
Bless God for shaking off false foundations, for any way whereby He keeps the soul awakened and looking after Christ; better sickness and temptations, than security and superficiality.
[read the article]
I was very struck by this because I know I can look all around me and judge God's wisdom, goodness and timing. Why now? Why this? Why not that? What about..? And so on. But I cannot judge God by my feeble and foolish understanding. I can however take Him at His word and His promises. God's providences can come in a million different ways because well, God owns everything, so he can and he does make things happen. Instead of searching and dwelling on His providences which can turn into hours upon hours of wasted time and built up anxiety, I can act more in faith than doubt by believing in God's promises and letting him work out the details.
I write this as another year and another holiday is coming to a close and I am again a single gal. It is very tempting this time of year to see the lack of a relationship as a lack of God's love in my life. But I know that is untrue because it doesn't say that in His Word. "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." I John 4:10
Lord, help me hold fast to you and your promises and let me view that life's providences only fall into place by your wise and steadfast loving hand. Help me to look past life's providences to see you, God and your promise to work all things together for the good of those who love you. Remind me God that I am on this journey where you will lead me safely and surely to heaven.