The play of infinite wisdom in providence is settling for a regenerate mind. That is how it’s supposed to be understood. I seriously think that there can never be a deep, unrakable, unsievable (I invented the last two words) love for God apart from this knowledge. While to some that statement is highly debatable, I risk being called out by making that conclusion.
I think good theology is one that is bedrock-rooted, one that can’t be blown off by the winds of doubts, fear, and suffering. Its effect? When the prevailing smoke of emotionalism and sentimentalism in the contemporary church settles, we will remain committed to the Lord.
A few nights ago, my wife and I were discussing a difficult portion of John. The next night, we were on our chairs, audience to some pastors involved in a good discourse. In both instances, the subject at hand was suffering.
Suffering is a universal reality that encompasses nations and generations. To the Christian man, like what I have mentioned, the play of infinite wisdom in providence is supposed to be settling for him who has a regenerate mind.
The concept of suffering can never be understood, lest married to the idea of divine providence. To think about providence is not a lazy escape from any discourse concerning suffering. It is just that all roads of discussion will always lead to Providence Avenue. The pulpit then must always seek to introduce the congregation to the reality of suffering and our participation in it, whether consequential or providential.
Now to the unbelieving man, these are difficult pills to swallow. People are always quick to put God on trial when their comfort and convenience are taken from them. Truth of the matter is, God is not answerable to man. The burden of explaining these things rest on the Christian man. God of course, in his grace, will help us extend the knowledge of His sovereignty and providence in the face of suffering to the curious and hurting unbeliever.
Here’s where we can start off with as we talk to people about suffering: The Bible can relate to the sufferer, as it is filled with stories of people who have suffered. There is an overtone of this in the pages of the Bible. What does that tell us? Remember suffering is a universal reality experienced by people of all generations. That tells us that the Bible will never lose its relevance in whatever culture and time. On top of that, the historical Jesus was a sufferer. The man revered by Christians is not foreign to suffering. And lastly, there is an end to suffering and it is a glorious one. The narrative is captivating to any person who is willing to listen.
As we evangelize and disciple people, may we be ambassadors of this eternal truth—-God will turn our suffering for our good and for His glory.