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God is in sovereign control over the difficulties and the pain

Posted Sep 09 2008 2:06am

I read this on a fellow blogger's post ~ I tried cutting sentences out that really spoke to me ~ but truthfully ~ the whole excerpt really spoke to me in a moment when I really needed encouragement to be thankful in all circumstances.

Jerry Bridges' message found as chapter 1 in the Stand book. Here's an excerpt...
...Lamentations 3:38 says to us, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” That is, God is in sovereign control over the difficulties and the pain just as much as he is in control over what we would consider to be the good things, the blessings of this life. Now we should thank God for the good things of life. We are to be thankful people. But what about the bad things, the things that we would not choose to have in our lives? Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances,” and then he adds, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That is to say, it is the moral will of God that we give thanks in all circumstances....
How do we do this? We do it by faith. We don’t just grit our teeth and say, “Lord, I don’t feel thankful, but you said to give thanks, so I’m going to give you thanks even though I don’t feel thankful.” That’s not giving thanks. We do it by faith. We do it by trusting in the promises of God. We do it by faith in the words of God through Paul in Romans 8:28–29, where he says “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him.” And then he defines the good in verse 29 as being conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what God is after.
He wants to conform us to the likeness of Christ; so he brings or allows these various circumstances, circumstances that we ourselves would not choose. He brings them into our lives because he wants to use those circumstances in his way to conform us more and more to the likeness of Christ. And so by faith we can say, “Lord, I do not know what particular purpose you have in this difficulty or this pain, this trial. But you said that you will use it to conform me more and more to Jesus Christ, and for that I give you thanks.” So we give thanks by faith. "
Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints, chapter 1 "Four Essentials for Finishing Well" by Jerry Bridges, page 34.
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