September 12 – The Cause of Adversity

September 12 – The Cause of Adversity

Deuteronomy 32:39

“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

We ended yesterday with the crucial thing in our adversity. Is not in the circumstances, but in your response to them. You saw that faith in God keeps the circumstances outside, pressing you ever closer to God to become a stronger, better person, more like Jesus. Unbelief lets the circumstances come inside and put a wedge between God and you and you become a weaker person, less like Jesus than before, perhaps discouraged, despondent, even bitter, or at least a miserable, complaining person. Remember, though, it’s not the quantity or even the quality of your faith, but the object of your faith — a trustworthy God. He is the one who can transform your trouble into strength and beauty. And though this means of grace is our least favorite, it can be the fast track to spiritual maturity.

Sometimes it’s quite clear who caused me pain, but often it can be frustrating trying to figure out who’s to blame. And the effort can be self-destructive. Some people forever blame others for their troubles — they are victims of others’ malice or stupidity. It may be a misguided or evil parent or spouse, the perverse society in which they live, the mission leadership, or the devil himself. Of course, there are others who tend to blame themselves for everything, guilty or not. Have you ever fallen into the “blame-it” trap? The strange thing is this: even if my blame-laying is on target, that truth has little power to deliver me from my problem. Indeed, the blame hunt itself may make me a worse person, less like Jesus.

But there is a way out. No matter where the problem may seem to come from, it always originates in one source. And, surprise, that one source of all trouble is God! Consider Deuteronomy 32:39: “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand.” [77] Of course, the awful tragedy in your life that is the result of someone’s sin is not God’s will. He didn’t send it. But he did permit it. And one thing is certain, no harm can touch the child of God unless it passes through those nail-scarred hands. To know that God is behind every grief of mine may create some other problems, but at least it simplifies the search!

Once we understand that basic truth concerning suffering, we no longer need to devote our energies to determining the guilty party and making them pay for it. We can give our attention more to understanding the reason or purpose God has in our suffering. And to discover the purpose in the suffering relieves the deepest agony of it, for meaningless suffering is the greatest torment of all. And that is the distress of every person who doesn’t know God. Furthermore, wherever the pain in your life originates, no matter how destructive it appears, no matter how entrapped you feel, there’s always a way out.

[77] See also Job 1:12; 2:6; Ephesians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Amos 3:6; Isaiah 45:7; Proverbs 16:4

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