"Oh to Grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee!"


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Something the Carnal Heart Will NEVER Understand

Here is just a quick excerpt from Jeremiah Burroughs' book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. I'm posting this because of a conversation my friend and I just had over dinner. We were talking about our lives and past experiences and how both of us have gone/are going through VERY similar situations. What happened to me a year and a half ago has been happening to her (freakishly similar) in the past 5 or so months, and it has been SUCH a blessing to see this verse right here really take place in my life:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.

We are both athletes in which the Lord used our sports as a means to completely break us down and remove the pride out of our lives. The very same comfort that the Lord gave me during that time is the same comfort I was able to offer her through the grace of God while she was going through it. But we talked about how alllllll of that hard stuff that we went through was amazing now that we look back on it, because had we not gone through it we wouldn't have been broken in our sins and seen the work of Christ for the precious jewel that it is. We would still be serving the idols of our fleshly desires. It reminded me of the passage that I had read in this book and immediately after dinner we went back to my apartment to read through this. It is very biblical for those that the Lord calls His to be afflicted greatly here on earth. In fact, it is promised- but all our afflictions represent blessings in disguise.

The carnal mind will NEVER grasp or understand this concept, but thank the Lord that He gives us the understanding and the spiritual eyes to see the purpose of our afflictions. I know that it has been the great trials and sufferings in my life that have yielded the greatest amount of growth. I know I write about this a lot, and it almost seems to be the subject of all my posts, but honestly, it is the issue that I find myself in practically all the time. Whenever one trial ends, it seems another one begins, and we all need to keep it in perspective. The perspective that God is in control and if we are His then we can rest assuredly- knowing that it is all for the furthering of our sanctification and preparing us for that Great Day when we join our King for eternity. I write about it a lot because I am tempted to forget this truth on a DAILY basis. Also, I know a few people in my life who are being broken by the Lord and are having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been there, and I pray that this passage brings them encouragment. And for those of you have experienced those tmes of being completely broken before an almighty God, rejoice for those moments of pure desperation that they brought, knowing that they helped refine your faith. I pray we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds with these truths, because it is an ongoing process that will be with us for as long as we are on this earth:

USUALLY WHEN GOD INTENDS THE GREATEST MERCY TO ANY OF HIS PEOPLE HE BRINGS THEM INTO THE LOWEST CONDITION.

God seems to go quite across and work in a contrary way: when he intends the greatest mercies to his people he first usually brings them into a very low conditions. If it is a bodily mercy, an outward mercy that he intends to bestow, he brings them physically low, and outwardly low; if it is a mercy in their possessions that he intends to bestow, he brings them low in that and then raises them; and in their reputations, he brings them low there, and then raises them; and in their spirits God ordinarily brings their spirits low and then raises their spirits. Usually the people of God, before the greatest comforts, have the greatest afflictions and sorrows. Now those who understand God's ways think that when God brings his people into sad conditions, he is leaving and forsaking them, and that God does not intend any great good to them. But a child of God, who is instructed in this way of God, is not troubled; 'My condition is very low,' he says, 'but this is God's way when he intends the greatest mercy, to bring men under the greatest afflictions.' When he intended to raise Joseph to be second in the kingdom, God cast him into a dungeon a little before. So when God intended to raise David and set him upon the throne, he made him to be hunted as a partridge in the mountains (

1 Samuel 26:29). God dealt this way with his Son: Christ himself went into glory by suffering (Hebrews 2:10); and if God so deals with his own Son, much more with his people.

A little before daybreak you will observe it is darker than it was any time before, so God will make our conditions a little darker before the mercy comes. When God bestowed the last great mercy at Naseby* we were in a very low condition; God knew what he had to do beforehand, he knew that his time was coming for great mercies: it is the way of God to do so. [*In 1645, the parliamentary army won a decisive victory against the Royalists at Naseby, Northamptonshire. The messages which comprise this book were preached by Burroughs in that year.] Be instructed aright in this course and way that God is accustomed to walk in and that will greatly help us to contentment.

IT IS THE WAY OF GOD TO WORK BY CONTRARIES, TO TURN THE GREATEST EVIL INTO THE GREATEST GOOD.

To grant great good after great evil is one thing, and to turn great evil into the greatest good is another, and yet that is God's way: the greatest good that God intends for his people, he many times works out of the greatest evil, the greatest light is brought out of the greatest darkness. I remember, Luther has a striking expression for this: he says, 'It is the way of God: he humbles that he might exalt, he kills that he might make alive, he confounds that he might glorify.' This is the way of God, he says, but every one does not understand it. This is the art of arts, and the science of sciences, the knowledge of knowledges, to understand this, that God when he will bring life, brings it out of death, he brings joy out of sorrow, and he brings prosperity out of adversity, yea and many times brings grace out of sin, that is, makes use of sin to work furtherance of grace. it is the way of God to bring all good out of evil, not only to overcome the evil, but to make the evil work toward the good. Now when the soul comes to understand this, it will take away our murmuring and bring contentment into spirits. But I fear there are but few who understand it aright; perhaps they read of such things, and hear such things in a sermon, but they are not instructed in this by Jesus Christ, that this is the way of God, to bring the greatest good out of the greatest evil.
 

5 comments:

Studier 101 said...

Another great post, sister.

Indeed, the foolish things of God are wiser than the wisdom of men & the weak things of God are stronger than the strength of men. And it is in this - not seeking our own way or glory or esteem - but esteeming Christ and knowing His Word, that we are to see what is truly great and truly of God. And it is NOT such a thing as "everybody knows that already" but "God confounds the wise, but gives grace to the humble". Amen.

Jamin Hubner said...

Excellent.

Shani said...

Yo, this is crazy. I was just thinking about this EXACT SAME THING while I was walking back to the computer. I can't believe it, I totally feel what you are saying. I have just come out of the most difficult trial I've experienced in my life yet. But, I've seen God really bring strength and growth to my life. This is the truth, you ain't never lied!

Surrender? said...

Your life and the lives of those who truly live out the Word offer so much hope to the overindulged yet unsatisfied world. May you continue in your pure pursuit of hope in a hopeless world. We all know Christ is truth no matter what front we put up...but who is WILLING to be of no reputation?

'He survived the wreck. He inherited his millions. He married. He lived only to bring his life to an end by shooting himself.'

That's not how we're created to live. If only we can get past the subtle lies of Satan on into the arms of the Savior, the light will satisfy.

BindingSubstance said...

James White said to go watch your testimony. So I did.

Neato.

So I read this blog.

Also neato.

I wish more people could see life this way. Keep it up.

Good day and God bless