When a person wrongs you can you honestly look beyond it and believe that Jesus Christ is saying to you “This thing is from Me!” In other words, do you really believe that God is sovereign in all things, that He is in control, and that everything which happens to you works toward your ultimate good. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
War Example~Consider the famous “Dear John” letter. John has gone off to serve his country and Mary vows to remain for him. But before long John receives a letter in which Mary tells him he has found another beau. John is so infuriated that he goes after the company mailman and starts to pulverize him. But, does it make sense to blame the mailman? He only delivers the mail from another—in this case Mary. So too, if you are a believer, you should accept everything that happens as being allowed by your Savior for your ultimate good. Putting it another way, “Refuse to look at second causes.” Consider the root cause of everything that happens to you to be Jesus Christ molding you into conformity to His image.
Joseph’s Example~Another familiar Bible biography. Joseph despised by his brothers—but God had a plan for his life—and it included saving those who had treated him so badly. This is a beautiful type, or foreshadowing, of Jesus Christ.“Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph: ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry’”’” (Genesis 45:4b-9)
Moses’ Example~Probably one of the first Bible biographies many of us learned in Sunday School. Put adrift in a basket in the Nile . But God had a plan (See Exodus 2 and following).
Job’s Example~“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East” (Job 1:1-3). Then from the Biblical account we find that Job loses his property, family, and health! But God is sovereign.
In the end we read, “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days” (Job 42:12-17).
There are many key lessons from the book of Job but three stand out to me. (1) God in His sovereignty may allow an individual to go through great difficulties not only for their benefit but also for the benefit of others—your trials may the source of the spiritual growth of others. (2) Satan did not presume to ask God that he be allowed to afflict Job (see Job 1:11, 2:5).Satan knew that God was in control and God would have to allow the trials to come to Job. Satan was allowed to attack Job but only under God’s watchful eye. (3) Satan is not in control, therefore no matter what comes out way we should always understand that God has allowed it. Refuse to blame the postman or to blame second causes!
Paul’s Example~“For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christwho strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11b-13).
Jesus’ Example~“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Your Example~How about you? What is your story? Can you say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15a) and “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10b)?
Summary ~“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie; My grace all-sufficient shall by thy supply; The flames shall not hurt thee, I only design, Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine” (the fourth stanza of the hymn “How Firm a Foundation”).
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