“Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up” Hosea 6:1.
David prayed: As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against You!” (Psalm 41:4)
“He sent out His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man” Psalm 107:20.
Although I’ve wondered at God’s ways, such as his delay in bringing relief from ongoing physical problems I’ve experienced; I can’t deny the deeper healing He has done in me through ill health. While I’ve grieved over our grandson’s behavioral disorder; I have also rejoiced over the spiritual healing I have seen in my daughter and son-in-law.
While we pray for relief from sickness, sadness, and storms in our lives; God sets out to heal us from sin that enslaves and keeps us from experiencing all He died to give us. Because God knows that sin will ultimately destroy us; He leads us to places we would rather not go to heal us from a disease that is far worse than we thought. But it’s only when we begin to grasp the love that sent Christ to the Cross to die for our sin that we’ll begin to believe the afflictions God allows are really mercies in disguise.
God is purposeful in all His ways.
1. God purposes to humble us by showing us our complete dependence on Him for everything.
The Bible reveals that the heart of sin is pride. By nature we are self-sufficient, independent, and want to be in control of our lives. Along with that we often take credit for things we have done through the gifts and abilities He has given.. J.I. Packer says: “Our proud hearts shrink from weakness in all its forms and embrace whatever looks like strength.”
God opposes the proud and draws near to the humble and so, to that end, He allows pressure to show us our desperate need for Him.
2. God purposes to teach us to hate sin.
John Piper said: “God created the universe out of nothing and it was very good. Then Adam and Eve did something horrifyingly evil in their hearts. They preferred the fruit of the tree to fellowship with God. . . God put the natural world under a curse so that the horrors we see around us would become a vivid picture of how terrible sin is. But let their bodies be touched with pain, and God is called to give an account of himself. We are not upset at the way we injure his glory, but let him injure our little pinky finger and all our moral outrage is aroused. Which shows how self-exalting and God-dethroning we are.”
We are prone to make little of sin until it touches our lives in some uncomfortable way. The gospel reminds us that it required the shed blood of His beloved Son to atone for our sin and set us free from its power over us. Knowing we are prone to forget the gospel, God mercifully allows affliction to strike us, that we might grow to hate sin and love Christ.
3. God purposes to show us His salvation and deliverance; to make known His mighty power.
The pattern throughout Scripture reveals man doing what’s right in his own eyes until crisis hits and they need to be rescued! We are no different. Like the teenager who rejects her parent’s boundaries until trouble sends her running to them for help, we tend to lean on God only when life gets too hard to manage on our own. God knows that until we understand that our greatest need is to be saved from the sin that deceives us, we will drift further and further away from HIm.
4. God purposes to show us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Our tendency to self-sufficiency can only be overcome when our situation is beyond our sufficiency. When we feel confident to figure things out on our own, we usually do. When we think we can handle the job we’ve been given, we rush ahead, at least until we hit a roadblock: Our plans to have a family are blocked by singleness or infertility; or our plan to live happily ever after is thwarted by sin that causes conflict and selfishness. God leads us into deep waters where we can’t swim to teach us to hold onto Him no matter what threatens to sink us.
5. God purposes to teach us to count everything loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, Philippians 3:8.
By nature we look to the things of this world to provide the things we think we want and need. What we don’t realize is that these will never satisfy. Only Jesus Christ will bring us the joy, peace, and security our hearts long for. God allows the things we thought we couldn’t live without to leave us wanting so we’ll discover that we were created for much more- to find our joy in Christ alone.
6. God purposes to strengthen our faith while training us to run with endurance. Hebrews 10:36-37.
God uses long seasons in the valley with no end in sight to teach us to keep on plodding in His strength even when we seem to be going nowhere. Only in this world will be able to walk by faith when we have no sight. And without faith it is impossible to please God. When God’s will crosses ours we must learn to trust His wiser determinations, being confident of this: He alone knows what will accomplish His purposes in us during our few years on earth and, He alone anticipates the great joy that awaits us when we stand before Him one day in glory.
7. God purposes to teach us that the greatest blessing comes not from receiving good things from His hand, but from displaying His glory and virtue to an unbelieving world. Matthew 5:2-10.
Ephesians 3: 9-10 reminds us that the manifold wisdom of God is being made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places, which means that our lives are on cosmic display throughout the universe! Will we invite God to have His way in us even when He chooses to refine us in the furnace of affliction for the glory of His Name? Will we find rest in the truth of the gospel when our lives are being completely shaken, confident that He will bring us out to a place of abundance? Psalm 66:10-12.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen Ephesians 3:20-21.
Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you,