When faced with trials and adversity it is all too easy to forget about the sovereignty of God and why we can trust him. I was encouraged by a good friend to purchase and read Trusting God by Jerry Bridges as it had been a great encouragement to both him and his wife when they were suffering. I bought it and have not been let down. Here is Bridges’ encouragement to those going through any challenge:
The truth we must believe is that God is sovereign. He carries out His own good purposes without ever being thwarted and He so directs and controls all events and all actions of His creatures that they never act outside of His sovereign will. We must believe this and cling to this in the face of adversity and tragedy, if we are to glorify God by trusting Him.
We all face trials and struggles that ultimately test our trust in God’s sovereignty. As a wrestler in high school and into college I have had my share of obstacles and struggles. They range from tough losses to injuries and even the practices where your mind and body have to fight just to make it through. All of the work that I put in just to succeed in the sport. I enjoyed those struggles when I got to look back at them and see how they have shaped me into the person I am.
God has used those events in so many ways of my life, but he has put me through some trials as well. In my first tournament of my college career, I had a career ending injury. It took away the sport I loved and left me wondering why God would do something like that. It took quite some time for me to even be “ok” with the idea that God took this thing that I enjoyed away from me. I received this book around the same time and sadly did not start reading it until awhile later. Then I came across this section of the book and it hit me.
Most of the time when we face trials and adversity we know what the proper response is:“rust God” and say that it is all part of his plan. The problem we face isn’t knowing or even understanding it, the real struggle is believing and doing it. When we are faced with something that seems as if God is not in control, or that he acted in some “unfair” way toward us, we should stop and consider what we know about God. In my struggle, I began to think that God made a mistake or that God did something wrong when he took away what I loved. I knew that wasnt true, yet I struggled to believe what I knew. Thankfully, now I can see that he was loving, merciful, and gracious to me through it all.
A story that God used in my life was that of Job — not because I faced anything near what Job faced, nor am I the man that Job was, but because of what God showed me about himself in that story. Picture the scene: Job is a righteous man, and God even calls him “blameless” (Job 1:8), yet God allows Satan to test Job in ways that many, if not all of us, have never experienced. Job is now in a position where he knows God is in control and he shows that in the way he responds to his wife. Job knows God gives and takes away (Job 1:21) and that if he should receive good, then why should he not also receive evil from the Lord (Job 2:10).
This understanding and belief in the sovereign control of God should be an example for how we should respond to God when we face all kinds of trials. Yet, this isn’t the point of the story. Think back to the quote by Bridges: “He carries out His own good purposes without ever being thwarted and He so directs and controls all events and all actions of His creatures that they never act outside of His sovereign will.” The story of Job pushes us to believe in God’s good and sovereign control even when we cannot see what God is doing.
Whether it be God taking away a sport that you enjoy, a job that you needed, a family member, being struck with an illness, or any other struggle you are going through, God is still on his throne, controlling it all (Ps 115:3; 135:6). The works of God in the story of Job, so also in all of history, reveals God’s own character. The story isn’t ultimately about Job. It’s about God’s righteousness and goodness in all that he does, and therefore, it is also about the confidence and trust we can have in God because he reigns over everything.
works all things together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:2830) and even when we look at a story like Job, we see that God is still merciful and compassionate in the way he works (James 5:11). Have confidence today that our God cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2). His rule and reign are forever, and nothing can change his will. This is the God we serve, worship, and love, because he is worthy of it all — even in our trials.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even when Life Hurts, 52.