What Good is Sorrow?

Sorrow

I read Paul’s promise that God causes all things to work together for good for his people, and I think of Joseph. He recognized God’s divine purposes at work throughout the evil actions of his brothers, and, in so doing, he became a living example of the truth Paul later proclaims (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). No act, however evil, can thwart God’s sovereign purpose; he can use “all things” (Romans 8:28). When I consider this truth, I tend to associate the promise with the externals of life, which leaves me to wonder if the promise also rings true for the internals. I know God works through even the vilest of events which afflict us; does he work through our sorrow as well?

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The Necessity of Bad News

In 1741, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” to a congregation in Enfield, Connecticut. He had preached this sermon previously to his own congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts, where the message was received with little response. But when he preached in Enfield, where men of faith had been praying steadfastly, God moved in the building in almost tangible ways. People learned to fear the Lord, and lives were forever changed. But before the good news of the Gospel could take hold, the people had to be broken by the bad news. And the bad news was very bad.
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Trusting When We Do Not Understand

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Here’s the setting: You’re sitting in a restaurant with your friends enjoying dinner. This is one of those restaurants that offers complimentary ice cream cones after every meal, and the ice cream machine has been getting a steady stream of traffic since you sat down. As you watch, kids all across the building scarf down their food with enthusiasm before turning (with mouths still full of their last bites) to their parents to get permission to go get ice cream. The kids can hardly stay in their chairs, hopping down and running to the ice cream machine as soon as they get the go ahead. You watch as little boys and girls figure out just how high they can get their soft serve to go on their little cones, and you laugh as the once clean faces are now being painted with vanilla. But then you notice one little boy crying.
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