Trust God

Although [Jesus] was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
–Hebrews 5:8

A few years ago, I traveled to Italy and saw Michelangelo’s statue of David. How did Michelangelo create such a magnificent sculpture? He took his hammer and chisel, looked at that big slab of marble, and chipped away everything that didn’t look like David. That’s what God is doing in your life too. He wants to mold you to be like Jesus so that you love what Jesus loved, think as Jesus thought, and behave as Jesus behaved in every situation. How does He do that? He chisels away everything in your life that doesn’t look like Jesus. Sometimes that process is very painful. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although [Jesus] was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” If God’s plan for His own Son included suffering, then why are we surprised when God’s plan for us includes suffering?

Sometimes God allows us to see the reason for our suffering. Sometimes we can look back at an experience and say, “Now I see the reason for that.” That’s what happened with Joseph. In Genesis 50 Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (v. 20). Forgiveness is much easier when we can look past our offender’s evil intentions and see the hand of God.

But what Joseph experienced is the exception and not the rule. Most of the time we go to our graves without seeing the purpose for our suffering. Most people experience what Job did. Job was a righteous man, fearing God, turning away from evil. Yet in a single day, he lost his assets, his health, and his children. Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21). But he also questioned why God allowed this to happen. After Job questioned God, God responded, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements? Since you know. … Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?” (38:2-5, 12-13). God never explained to Job the reason for his suffering. God did not reveal His grand design. He revealed Himself. God’s answers to Job’s questions about unjust suffering can be answered in two words: “Trust Me.”

And that is what God says to every one of us today. If, like Joseph, you can look back and see how your suffering has been used for good, then praise God for that. But if you are like Job and can’t see any good in the hurt you have experienced, then God says to you, “Trust Me. Even though you don’t see the good now, trust that I have a plan that I’m working out. I have not forgotten you. I have not forsaken you.”

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

C. S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain,” rev. ed. (New York: HarperOne, 2015), 31-32, 41.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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