Horatius Bonar on how God works out all things for our good and his glory.
Those are the hardest words to hear when you are suffering aren't they? So many, good hearted, kind people have stuck that knife in thoughtlessly, and yet we can have hope even faith that even our poorly thought out Christianity will work together for good. I will say though, that in my experience with suffering people, it is important to acknowledge that fact that we can't explain and are so discomfitted to find in our Jesus, that He likes to paint with the color black, that He finds something beautiful and compelling in tragedies. I've never found a way to acknowledge the Creator's Sovereignty without acknowledging this fact that didn't feel 'weaselly' to me, and experience tells me that we are comforted by the knowledge that our pain comes from One who loves us, as paradoxical as that sounds.
Thats nice. Thank you for that.
I've spent a fair bit of time looking at Job. I guess one of the biggest realizations for me is that I agree with Job's friends. If I was there I would probably justify the four of them and condemn Job. The things that seem righteous to me God's Word shows to be sin, and the things that He declares righteous, Job or a Messiah who eats with sinners and forgives sins for free don't square with any idea of justice that I can see.
God's intentions in causing suffering are a great deep, I think is the way Job puts it. And often every appearance suggests that He does do so out of hostility or as punishment. I can point to around 100 Psalms where David under inspiration says something to that effect.
Fundamentally, life leaves us with a God we can't understand, and it is certainly the experience of the saints that they suffer both justly and unjustly at the hands of God. I can only reply that though the Lord bruises you, even seems sometimes to enjoy it, He has not forgotten you has not cast you off. Everywhere I look I see proof that God is against me, but everything He does to me that convinces me He is against me He....also did to the Beloved Son with whom He is well pleased.(dunh dunh dunh that's dramatic music) So as our friend Mr Forde would tell us, God hides Himself in darkness, in Luther's words He covers Himself with a mask. He does not intend to be known by us in a Romans 1 General Revelation kind of way. By that way, is a knowledge of Sin and Wrath. Looking to my life and the world around me can NEVER show me that God loves and accepts me. They testify in the loudest voice to the opposite. But, He treated the Beloved Son in the same way, the One who is proven to be Beloved by the Glorious Resurrection. Thw great glory of Christ's suffering is not that it takes away our suffering but that it makes our suffering like His. And Job ends with a whirlwind of mysteries but I think if he were here to comment on his own story his answer would be that he is content to endure the deepest sorrow for this makes at least one point of resemblance with the Man of Sorrows. This to me is the mystery of the Gospel, not that we suffer less because we don't, but that suffering becomes in a Mystery acceptable because He suffered. It is better to go to the House of Mourning than the House of Joy for we know which one the Man of Sorrows inhabits. A good friend likes to ask the question, 'Would you want to go to Heaven if Jesus wasn't there?' And it is a pointed enough question, let's flip it around just a little though and ask, 'Would you want to weep if Christ was weeping? Would you want to lose a friend because He lost a friend? Would you want to be betrayed because He was betrayed?' That at least is the only answer I have been able to come up with for Job.
Thank you for this response. You’ve essentially unraveled what I’ve been conditioned and re-conditioned to believe, to provide space for a new perspective. This is why I love the Lord so much. I know I will never understand God and His Son fully, but there will always be facets of Him that, through pursuing the wisdom of scripture and the observations of myself and others, I can commune with ever more deeply. Perhaps mysteries teach us more than answers ever could. May the Lord bless you and keep you, truly.