We gave away copies of "Gospel Meditations for the Hurting" for Mother's Day 2014 at Crossroad. Little did I know that the Scripture meditations would sustain me through the death of my little brother Josiah (4 days after his 14th birthday). Here is an excerpt from Day 9: Suffering and Sovereignty: Part 1- Read I Peter 4:19
"We have no right to imagine God as we want Him to be. And honestly, those answers are more troubling than the truth. Does it frighten you that God ordains even the falling of a sparrow (Matthew 10:29-31)? It shouldn't. It should comfort you. What alternative do you prefer: to be at the mercy of evil men? To be at the mercy of Satan? To be at the mercy of bad luck--what Shakespeare called 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'? No, we are far better off in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and good God, who alone ordains (and limits) our calamities.
What is God's purpose in allowing His people to suffer? Time may tell. J.C. Ryle's loss of a family fortune propelled him into ministry. John Bunyan's jail cell, intended to keep him from preaching to hundreds, allowed him to write to millions. The lice in Corrie ten Boom's quarters at Ravensbruck tormented her, but they also kept guards from discovering the Bible study she and her sister Betsie led. Jim Elliot and his fellow martyrs accomplished more for missions through their deaths than their lives. Ron Hamilton and Joni Eareckson Tada stumbled on stones that eventually became platforms for their Christ-exalting ministries.
Perhaps your own hardships will never lead to an 'aha' moment. Perhaps all you'll see this side of heaven is a messy bunch of knots. But eternity will show that when your life is viewed from God's side, those knots were part of an exquisitely crafted tapestry. May we learn to handle our distresses with the faith of David Brainerd: 'My soul was sweetly resigned to God's disposal of me, in every regard; and I saw there had nothing happened to me but what was best for me' (Memoirs of Brainerd, p. 94).
Let the gospel assure you that your suffering isn't random but is according to God's will.--Chris"
If you would like to purchase copies of this and other "Gospel Meditation" booklets, please follow the link to the Church Works Media website.