"Suddenness is the wrapping paper in which sovereignty sometimes arrives." So wrote Dr Dale Ralph Davis in his commentary on 1 Kings (p.273).
When trials come to us suddenly, we often respond, "Well, that's all I need now." Plans are altered. Careers shattered. Families devastated. Lives threatened.
Yet for the Christian, God, in His sovereignty, arrives with us in ways that are guaranteed to get our attention. We are made to think, to ponder, to ask questions, even at times to doubt. But it also drives us on our knees in prayer to the only One Who can hear and help us.
Someone very wisely said, "When trouble drives us to our knees before God, it does more good than harm." How true. And how delightful it was to hear **** saying yesterday that she never thought she would ever find herself thanking God for her cancer. Why is this? Because it has brought her to a closeness to Christ that she never had before. She thanks God for working in her in this way, for the spiritual benefits she has received are innumerable. She spoke of the peace that she enjoys everyday – the peace of God. For her, peace and joy are linked intimately with Christ and her relationship with Him. This is as it should be.
It is when we are facing trouble that we get to know God best of all. "When trouble puts us on our backs, the only way we can look is up." This has been the indescribable joy that we have experienced over these past months – the joy and delight in being able to come into the presence of the holy and loving God, and to talk to Him. Looking up to the Lord as our only Helper has been deeply satisfying. And do you know what it has done for us? It has created in us an independence of circumstances and people that has given us the greatest freedom we have ever known. Just think what heaven will be like if we can have a foretaste of it here and now!
God is sovereign, and we cannot understand why He does some things, nay, many things. We have to "walk by faith not by sight" if we are to make any sense of what happens to us. Knowing that God knows the end for the beginning is the greatest comfort to us. When we cannot see where we are going, how good it is to walk with Someone Who does.
You have known the suddenness of divine intrusions into your life. So have we. It can change everything. New priorities are set. The truly important things get top place. Everything else is put way down the list. And God gets top place.
And it is then that God comes into His own and we see things about Him that were there all the time, but we did not stop long enough to see them. How we impoverish ourselves by not staying long enough in His gracious presence. How we deprive our lives by only ‘filling up’ for a moment. To hear **** singing (privately, I must add) those lovely words, “And I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story, ‘Saved by grace.’” Just think what hearing this does to one’s soul. To hear that deep personal assurance of salvation coming from a believer’s heart, is wonderful. To know that she knows where she is going when the Lord calls her, is the greatest comfort imaginable. It is “to be absent from the body but present with the Lord.”
Stop, sit, wait, meditate, think, ruminate, drink it all in. That's what God is calling His people to do. To give Him priority in their lives. And when we do that, God blesses in ways that we could never imagine.
All praise must go to the Lord for his numerous and wonderful answers to your prayers. Having just had her second chemotherapy last Wednesday, and knowing now what to expect, she is in brilliant form. The last three days have been really good, with only the most minor of annoyances (and I’m not talking about me!!!). Her mouth is a bit sore and food tastes different from what it ought to be; but apart from that she is very well.
Now, this cannot be put down to **** or to me or even to you. But it can and must be put down to the Lord’s graciousness to her in answer to your prayers. Friends, never doubt that God answers your prayers. He does. She dreaded the sickness that often accompanies chemo, and she has not had any. Yes, she has tablets to take to control sickness, and in answer to your prayers, God has made them very effective. We prayed that the Lord would send ‘sweetness’ along with the chemo – and He did that too. And why? Because that’s just the kind of God He is.