Lord’s Day 01/31 rejoice in suffering

In the face of suffering, the believer is not to look for the “hidden God”-that is, God in his secret majesty. We cannot even attempt to figure out by speculation why we are suffering. We can only, with Moses, look upon God’s “back-side,” his compassion and mercy as revealed in Christ and his cross. While God’s hidden will in suffering cannot be found, and searching for it can only drive one to depression or delusion, his revealed will is displayed in the suffering of Christ, in which his people are called to share.

Suddenly, in light of this, the dark, mysterious, fearful spectre of suffering is removed even though the pain, even thought the physical and emotional realities continue unabated. Still bewildered by the problem pain, the soul at least is at rest, confident in God’s mercies in Christ. Again, God chooses what is foolish, despised, weak, ridiculous, and offensive to us and makes this the very way in which he will come to us in wisdom, power, and salvation. Just when our own reasoning judges God the furthest away, he is closest. When the heart seems to be apprehending God’s judgment and wrath, the Father is most deeply revealing his love and grace.

So, Paul says, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Rom. 5:2-5)

Michael Horton, In the Face of God: The Dangers and Delights of Spiritual Intimacy, p. 77.

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