Sunday, May 17, 2009

God Always Does What is Good For Us

Please pray for us this coming Tuesday (May 19th) as Richard finds out whether or not he's getting laid off from his job.

We've been so blessed with this city job he got last summer! We've hardly been able to believe how wonderful it is! Richard works 8 hours a day and gets home at 3pm instead of working 9-12+ hours, plus lots of weekends. The work is physically easy yet mentally challenging, instead of being physically back-breaking and tedious. He comes home with energy and time to spend with his family instead of being bone-tired and needing to just eat and go to bed. The work is all year instead of seasonal, so we have steady year-round income. He enjoys the work, can work up to a higher pay grade and skill level, and works with a respectable group of men.

This job has changed life so much for us! Instead of Richard's work season being grueling, lonely, and difficult for all of us, it has become full of laughing, playing and time together as a family. Instead of having an off-season that means tightening of belts, uncertainty about income and insurance coverage, and too much spare time for Richard, life has continued much the same. We have felt extremely blessed this last year.

Not only is it discouraging to think of losing this job that Richard's already put so much time and learning into, and this lifestyle we've come to enjoy so much, it's frightening to know that finding another job is by no means assured with many cities on hiring freezes right now. I really don't want Richard to have to go back to a construction job. I want him to stay at this job for a long, long time.

At the same time, I know that God provided this job when we needed it, and Richard will keep it for exactly as long as we need it. Who knows, maybe God has an even better, cushier job waiting for Richard! He jokes that every time we've had another baby he's gotten a better job - a few more kids and he'll be making six figures! But all joking aside, one thing I do know is that we need not fear the future! God is FOR us. How amazing. Even if there isn't a cushy job around the corner, even if there is no job around the corner, we need not fear. I have this quote written in my Bible: "God is so for us that even in our suffering we have hope."

In one of my favorite sermons ("God Did Not Spare His Own Son"), Pastor John said this:
God is entirely for us, and never against us. None of our sicknesses is a judgment from a condemning judge. None of our broken cars or failed appliances is a punishment from God. None of our marital strife is a sign of his wrath. None of our lost jobs is a penalty for sin. None of our wayward children is a crack of the whip of God’s retribution. If we are in Christ. No. God is for us, not against, in and through all things - all ease and all pain.

I love the apostle Paul's reasoning in Romans 8: "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

In other words, God has already given us the most precious, most valuable, and most necessary gift of all: His Son, and salvation in Him. If He was willing to give us that, will He not also give us everything that we need? Pastor John calls this "The Solid Logic of Heaven."

He continues in his sermon:

And what shall we say to this? We shall say, "The logic of heaven holds!" If God thus delivered over his own Son, then . . . What? Answer: He shall with him surely and freely give us all things. If God did not withhold his Son, he will not withhold any good thing from us.

This is the final purchase and fulfillment of Psalm 84:11, "No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."

This is the promise and ground of 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future - all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God’s."

This is the sealing of the promise of Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."

This is the securing of the promise of Jesus in the words, "Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’. . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:31-33).

Since he did not spare his own Son, but delivered him over for us all, he will, with absolute moral certainty, give us all things with him. Really? All things? What about "tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword" (Romans 8:35)? The answer is in this magnificent quote from John Flavel from 350 years ago:

He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). How is it imaginable that God should withhold, after this, spirituals or temporals, from his people? How shall he not call them effectually, justify them freely, sanctify them thoroughly, and glorify them eternally? How shall he not clothe them, feed them, protect and deliver them? Surely if he would not spare this own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.

God always does what is good for us. If you believe that he gave his own Son for you, this is what you believe. And all of the Christian life is simply the fruit of that faith. Look to Christ. Look to the love God. Live in love. And fear no more.

We are clinging to these truths as we face possible unemployment, another baby on the way, a new van that isn't paid off yet, etc., etc. Nothing will separate us from the Love of God! Please pray with us that we would have open hands with all that has been given to us, not clinging to anything but the Cross, not fearing but living in the Love of Christ.

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