July 11 I Thursday
“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” —Psalm 30:5
Most of us know the word “gospel” means “good
news.” We can, however, mistake the meaning of “good” in that we always associate it with something nice, pleasant and agreeable.
Baby boomers, for instance, may recall when they did not have flavoured medicine. There was no choice between banana, strawberry or chocolate, just the brass tack original, which tasted like something between boot polish and gasoline. The medicine had nothing
to do with being nice and pleasant, but everything to do with what was good in it.
God works in this way. When He gives a rainbow, which is a picture of His promise to us, the rainbow is against a backdrop of clouds and storms. Psalm 23, one of the most familiar and loved passages in Scripture, says of God, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:2-3). As comforting as this is, we cannot take it as a defining statement of the Christian life because in the same Psalm, David says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). There is a feast and a fight. They coexist, where the feast represents God’s provision in our struggles. Chris Thomas, son of Major Ian Thomas, made a very prolific statement when he said, “Material loss and spiritual gain so often are served to us on the same plate.”
God’s ultimate purpose for us is that we come to know Him and Jesus Christ and that we are being molded into the image of Christ. This is not handed to us on a silver platter. It is God’s intention to build us and without the struggles much of the learning would be lost along the way. But it is in these times of trial and testing that the nature of our trust in God is revealed. In our love for God and dependence on Him, He will clean up the bad in order for the good to come through.
As a result, we are deeply enriched by personal experience of God Himself.
Charles Spurgeon, a great 19th-century preacher, once said, “I have looked back to times of trial with a kind of longing, not to have them return, but to feel the strength of God as I have felt it then, to feel the power of faith, as I have felt it then, to hang upon God’s powerful arm as I hung upon it then, and to see God at work as I saw Him then.” We may not see it now, but from the bad comes the good with Christ as our Lord.
Prayer: Dear Lord, keep me in Your strength in times of trials and testings to always trust in Your goodness. Thank You, Lord.