Turning It Over to the Lord
Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1Peter 4:19)
Picture: Callan Trent Cofield – Son of Justin and Kristina Cofield. (Gt. Grandson)
It’s strange to think that we might “suffer according to the will of God” and that our highest expectation is to trust God for the outcome. It’s easy to trust God when your flower beds are the envy of the community, your paycheck is good, and you can’t remember the last time you had a flat tire.
DO YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT IT MIGHT BE THE WILL OF GOD FOR ME TO SUFFER? That it might be the will of God for me to be persecuted? That it might be the will of God for my family to be disrupted with a new grave? Yes. No one loves you with an “everlasting love” but God. You don’t know anyone as smart as God. There’s no one you can trust like you can trust the Lord. The Jewish nation of Israel had strayed far away from God until there was no remedy but an all-out invasion from Babylon (Iraq), where they would stay for seventy years. But God still loved them. Jeremiah told it this way:
FOR THUS SAITH THE LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. (Jeremiah 29:10-12)
VERSE 11 IS VERY POPULAR THESE DAYS. I have read it many times in the past few years in devotionals and newsletters. It is a good verse, an encouraging verse, a verse of promise. But, rarely is the verse sandwiched into its true context. God was telling the Jews: “You have been very bad and rebellious and as a last resort I must take you to the woodshed and you are going to be there for seventy years until you learn that I am God.”
That’s the true context of the verse. It’s not instant relief. God sent them Jeremiah and other preachers and they were all despised. Jeremiah ended up in a bottomless cistern where he sank up to his armpits in muck.
JEREMIAH HAD WARNED THEM THAT MANY OF THEM would die and not live long enough to make it back home. But, the rest of the message was that God had plans for them, plans of peace. When they had had time out to think things over, those who had survived could go back home and God would help them rebuild everything that had been destroyed. “Then” shall ye call upon me… “Then” shall you pray unto me.” After they had learned their lesson and they had turned to the Lord, He would listen to them. That’s the rest of the story.
THE JEREMIAH STORY IS NOT THE WHOLE STORY OF 1PETER 4:19. Many people are sick, and many people die younger than normal who are not extra-ordinary sinners. Sinners, yes. We are all sinners. Some are saved sinners, and some are lost sinners, but we are all sinners. You don’t have to be an extra-ordinary sinner for it to be the will of God for you to suffer or die without knowing all the answers.
In Peter’s day, the suffering was in the context of persecution for their faith in Christ. Sometimes God does not stop the people with the upper hand who are beating you up.
It’s like the song of the south: Farther along, we’ll know all about it; Farther along, we’ll understand why. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine. We’ll understand it, all by and by.”
PETER ADVISED HIS READERS ON HOW TO HANDLE THEIR SUFFERING. Commit the keeping of their souls to God, believing Him to be a faithful creator. He knows where you live. He knows your phone number. He’ll meet you at your point of need in His own time.
I must tell you that I have encountered people whose condition or circumstance was beyond me and it broke me and reduced me to weeping. I try not to do that in the room where they are. They don’t need me to do that. But, weeping there must be. I think I can understand Jeremiah, at least a little bit.
SOMETIMES THERE IS NEEDED THE MINISTRY OF MOSES: And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:21) Sometimes the greatest need is for somebody to draw near into the thick darkness where God is.
When Elijah came out into the open to encounter King Ahab who was married to Jezebel, he mentioned to Ahab: As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand,… (1Kings 17:1) That’s what we need today. We need more people who can say: “Before Whom I stand.” It helps us all if we can say: “Before Whom I stand.”
THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR US, when troubled for any reason, to have a strong belief in “a faithful creator.” Many believe in a creator out there somewhere but that’s not good enough. We need to be able to say: “I personally know this Creator and whatever comes my way is not coming my way unless it first passes the mind and heart of my Creator and Redeemer.”
LIFE CAN SHATTER YOUR SOUL WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT. If you have a telephone it can destroy you in three minutes. If you have a front door, a knock from the other side of that door can tell you the thing that will destroy you! At that time, you gather everything you can and join the man in Jesus’ day: And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
Sometimes I wonder if we can go through many doors with God until we have been truly broken. However, be careful about praying for God to break you. Don’t do that. Spend your time praying for God to draw you to Himself, for God to open your eyes. I like the song by Fanny Crosby: “I am Thine O Lord…draw me nearer,” the song says. If God needs to break you, He will. But, that’s not the first route we need to go. Seek God and surrender to Him. That’s the route to go. Adopt that as a way of life.
We must learn to turn over to God those things we can’t handle and the things we can’t understand. I think that is harder to do than to get healed (and I have been healed and have seen a number of people healed). Commit: the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 23, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. 2Samuel 7-9 P.M. Luke 19:1-28
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
APRIL 21, 2018 – SATURDAY
A.M.2Samuel 1-3 P.M. Luke 18:1-17
APRIL 22, 2018 - SUNDAY
A.M. 2Samuel 4-6 P.M. Luke 18:18-43
If you are behind in your reading, you may want to link in today and go back to where you have been reading. This will help you to eventually catch up.
Good Memory Verse:
Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)
Song for Today:
The Rocks Will Cry Out (2:48) – (Calv.Mem.Church – Sou.Pines,NC)
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See the Funeral of Former First Lady: Barbara Bush: (1:36.00) (Without comment: Posted by Washington Post) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bozw22vgog0 - Scripture Reading Begins at 1:39.00. (The actual funeral was about an hour and a half. The entire filming was 5 hours and 40 minutes.)