My Musings – Is it possible for us to cause God to do something against His will? Apparently it is. God “does not willingly bring affliction or grief.” But He does bring it on nonetheless. Why would He do something that He is not willing to do, that He does not have to do? It is motivated by “compassion, so great is His unfailing love.” The Father will discipline the children He loves, in order to bring correction and growth. If there were a gentler, less grief bringing way He would undoubtedly choose that way. But when there is no other way, He is compassionate and loving enough to
permit bring grief our way. When this was not enough, He took it upon Himself, through His only Son. For “it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer (Isaiah 53:10)” on our behalf in order to bring salvation to His creation. He was willing to do what He did not willingly want to do (say what?). Now that is love and compassion!
My Advice – We can rest assured, that in all these grief “things,” God will bring about good to those who also love Him and are called by Him (Romans 8:28). Are you feeling “affliction or grief?” Don’t ask why, as in why me? Ask why as in, what correction (repentance) is needed in my life? What do I need to learn from this? What growth is not otherwise possible without this? Don’t let the thing that God did not willingly want to do be wasted. Use it!
Hebrews 12:7,8 – Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – There are two kinds of discipline. Discipline to bring correction and discipline to train and strengthen.
My Advice – As a Son, you will be disciplined. Welcome it as a sign of true “sonship.” Make sure you know which type it is and act accordingly: ask for forgiveness or ask to learn whatever lesson is being taught.
Hebrews 5:14 – But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Casual Christianity does not lead to maturity.
My Advice – Be intentional about your walk with Christ. Exercise it as an athlete in training that hardens his body, builds his endurance and hones his skills.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 – Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it–I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a while–yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Sometimes we hurt the people we love when we point out errors to them. But if it is the truth, and if it is done in love, like Paul, we need not regret it. The hurt will last only a little while, but the result of repentance restores not only their relationship with you, but with God.
My Advice – I am happy to give you advice, even if some of it hurts a bit, if it keeps you on the right track or helps put you back on the right track. Accept my advice for what it really is, a labor of love and concern for my son.
2 Corinthians 4:8 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – What a blessing. God will not permit us to go through things that will crush us, or cause us to despair. He may allow persecution, but He will not abandon us. We may be struck down, but not to the point of being destroyed.
My Advice – Don’t give up and don’t give in. God will see you through.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 – We do not want you to be uninformed about the hardships we suffered…far beyond our ability to endure. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – While Paul did not have the ability to endure, we know that he did until he was martyred. During all this he learned to rely on God.
My Advice – Learn from hardships. Learn to rely on God. He will never fail you.
1 Corinthians 1:8 – He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – We rely on our own strength too much to combat temptation. We are not strong enough in our own strength, but more than strong enough if we rely on God’s strength.
My Advice – Do not think that you are too weak to resist temptation, too weak to be obedient. God will keep you strong if you ask Him too.