Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thinking about: Romans 8:28

"In one thousand trials it is not just five hundred of them that work for the believer's good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, and one beside." (George Mueller).

The story is told of two artists, high on a scaffold in an Italian church. They were putting the finishing touches on a painting when the master painter stepped back to admire his work. The apprentice saw the move, and realizing his master was about to take a plunge to his death, thought not to cry out and startle his master and, in effect, assist in the disaster. Instead the young man splashed paint across the freshly completed portion, causing the master to lunge forward in anger screaming, "Why did you do that!?" Upon hearing the reason, his anger melted into tears of joy and thankfulness.

"If we are impressed with the scholarship of man and the achievements of scientific knowledge, then let us not play the fool by trumpeting a tiny chirp and ignoring the thunder clap of omniscience. " (John Piper)

Behold: the common log. When I look at a log or some other cut piece of a tree, I see things like chicken floating, roasting above a fire or flaming marshmallow comets. When a sculptor sees a log, he sees art. To me, a chisel is a box of band-aids waiting to be opened. To the professional, it is the key that unlocks the treasure inside the block. The sculptor takes tool in hand and pokes and gouges and digs and hammer and pushes and forces and twists until there is a finished product. Behold: the common log. Fireplace fodder for one, a masterpiece to display on the fireplace mantle of another. God’s working in our lives may be painful, but his purpose is for our good.

"God is God, and God is good. As Paul affirms for the church, God's sovereignty is the ground of our hope, the assurance of God's justice as the last word, and God's loving rule in the very events of our lives." (Al Mohler on the Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil)

"The stream of Providence is . . . so twisting, so dark, apparently so murky, and occasionally so devastating that it requires strong faith believe that it is the work of God and not of chance; and that if it is the work of God--it must be just, and wise, and good. In the darkest dispensations of Providence affecting ourselves, strong faith realizes that it is all from God; and must therefore be wise, and just, and good. To be able really say, "It is well. I am sure it is right. I cannot tell how it is right. I do not understand why this deep afflictive Providence came. I can find no key to unlock the mystery. But I am as confident that it is right, as if God's whole purpose were transparent to my reason, and I could see the event in all its connections, bearings, and results. I cannot see how or why--but I believe that my deep affliction is for God's glory and my ultimate benefit. I know that God causes everything to work together for good." (J.A. James, The Practical Believer Delineated.)

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