Psalm 42:1
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God's Providence allows Hard Times

Often we think that God's providence is when we are being blessed or when life seems to be "good" but that is only partially true. God's providence also includes the trials in our lives and when life doesn't seem so "good". I put the word good in quotes because that is subjective, meaning it's our interpretation of how life is going good or bad. There is always a steadfast good in our life and that is our Lord.

The current trial in our life has been losing a job in a hard time economically. This is not what I consider a "good" time in our lives, but God in His providence means it for our good. It's been miserable at times, not fun to say the least. I say that not out of bitterness lest I begin to despise this time that the Lord has ordained to happen for His glory and my good. James 1:2-3 reminds us that trials test our faith to produce steadfastness. Any of us that have suffered a trial know that in the beginning our faith seems weak only to come through with a stronger faith that the Lord graciously produced in us.

The Lord has provided through many of His people to minister to us. Many of these ways unique and quite amazing to us. Only God's kindness working through people have made this happen. I was reminded of the story of the Israelites in Deut. 8 that were starving in the wilderness and God supplied manna only enough for that day. They became dependent upon God for their food. Moses told them God was teaching them that man doesn't live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Lord. They were humbled to a conscious dependence upon the Lord's daily provision. We have become acutely aware of our utter dependence on Him during this time. Later in the chapter 8, Moses says to remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth. This was so the Israelites would not depend on their own farming or hands when the Lord would bring them into a land where they would lack nothing. (vs 9) We are crying out to God for His provision right now during this trial but are we not just as dependent on God when the paychecks are coming in and all seems fine?

God's love for us has been a constant comfort. Psalm 145:8-9; Psalm 103:11 We are His own and His love for us is as high as the heavens. We are united with Christ so we must see our trial through our union with Christ. "God's love to us cannot fail any more than His love to Christ can fail." Jerry Bridges.

Psalm 131....I have calmed and quieted my soul....

I have learned that to trust God you have to know Him. This makes sense when you think of friends, we trust those we know much easier than ones we hardly know. Spurgeon said "Honor God by trusting Him." I believe I have learned more of Him so my trust is even deeper and the more I know, the more I trust. The Bible is our handbook for life, how to live the Christian life. It's also a comfort written for our encouragement to learn from those before us that also struggled and to see how faithful God is to His own.

I recommend the book "Trusting God even when life hurts" by Jerry Bridges. Above are just a few of the things I've learned, the book is full of scripture and truths. I wouldn't wait until life hurts to read it. Read it now and then pick it back up during a trial. You always see something new the second time through a book.

I can't imagine living without God's grace in my life to sustain me. This trial has humbled me in realizing God's care of His own and how I don't deserve it. It reminds me of how all of life points back to the cross and the gospel. There is my hope, He chose me, He died for me, He loves me, and He will take care of me. God is glorified when we trust in Him. Others see this trust and God is glorified. Because He is seen as worthy to be trusted. I am thankful for the grace to trust Him and the grace to see His blessings of provision. It's only by His grace that we don't become hardened or bittered when our faith is tested. Even when we can't see what the Lord is doing, pray for grace to trust Him knowing that it is for your good and His glory.

Trusting in Him,
Jen

2 comments:

Jay and Jo and Ryan said...

Hi Jen,
Thank you for sharing what you are learning through these circumstances in your life currently. Our county library has the book you mentioned; I am just waiting for it to come back in. Meanwhile, I picked up another book by Jerry Bridges called "The Joy of Fearing God." I look forward to reading it this week.
Trusting in our Savior,
Jo

Emily said...

Hey Jen!

That was really encouraging! I've been dealing with some different changes in my life and it's been hard to accept what the Lord wants for me. But I've been praying that I would accept His will for my life and live the way He wants me to! I've been praying for you all!

-Emily