The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/08

Posted on | June 8, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/08

The Gift Nobody Wants

We rejoice in our sufferings. (Romans 5:3)

 

The story is told of a man who lost everything when a flash flood washed away his home and all his possessions. Surveying the destruction, he noticed something glittering in the mud. The waters that had swept away all his belongings had unearthed a vein of gold! Rather than making him a pauper, the disaster made him a millionaire. Though I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of this old story, I can testify to the theological truth it conveys. The God we worship delights in turning tragedy into triumph, victims into victors, pain into praise. All things really do work together for good for those who love God (Rom.8:28). This is why we are urged to thank God for everything (Eph. 5:20), not just the blessings he bestows, but also the trials he permits. A quick survey of the New Testament reveals some of the many blessings that come to those who allow their sorrows and losses to achieve their God-ordained purpose:

,. Now for a little while . . . you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:6–7).

,. [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness (Heb. 12:10–11).

,. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2–3).

,. So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to harass me (II Cor. 12:7).

,. Blessed be . . . the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (II Cor. 1:3–4).

,. We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (II Cor. 1:8–9).

 

A poem entitled The Thorn by Martha Snell Nicholson, captures well the mystery of the gift of suffering.

 

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne

And begged Him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.

I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart

I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart. This is strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”

He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.” I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore, As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.

I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace, He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

 

Today, God is asking you to do something difficult. He wants you to trust him in a way that makes it possible to actually rejoice in the difficult situation you are currently facing. Your willingness to do this may be the key that unlocks the treasures of grace he wants to pour into your life.

 

What do people mean when they say “I am not afraid of God because I know he is good”?

Have they never even been to a dentist?—C. S. Lewis

 

point to ponder God specializes in turning tragedy into triumph.

prayer focus Someone in great trial.

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