Trials: Theological Rubber Meets the “Everyday” Road
I have been away for several weeks due to some troubling news that my wife and I received regarding her pregnancy. She is doing well but there is a good chance that she is in the early stage of Placenta Accreta. This will present a particular set of difficulties down the road as she gets closer to her due date. In light of this, my time has been occupied with taking care of her, our home, our children. It has also presented the opportunity to reflect on God’s providence and unceasing love for those who are called to be His.
I confess that I struggled at first to understand why this was happening. I would imagine this is a fairly normal reaction for most people, Christian and non-Christian alike. In a single instance everything seemed to come to a screeching stop. Things that seemed important before now appeared trivial and insignificant. And the nagging question continued to haunt me: “Why would God, my Father in Heaven, allow us to go through such an ordeal?” As I was driving home from work one afternoon I was flooded with a terrible anxiety and my imagination ran wild… But only for a few moments.
At this point, my theology kicked in. This is what this blog is about: where the study and the “everyday” meet. I immediately and intentionally began to meditate on some biblical and theological truths that served as a salve for my soul. I remembered that I love God, and that He causes all thing to work out for our good (Rom. 8:28). I reflected on God’s sovereign grace and a love that neither my wife or I could ever be separated from (Rom. 8:38-39). I thought about the role that trial and tribulations play in our lives and how God uses these to build us up in our most holy faith; how they should not rob of us joy (James 1:2-3; Rom. 5:3). All of these are founded on theological truths about the nature and being of God, His providential hand in all things, His lordship over all creation, but most of all, in the blessed gospel of God’s saving grace in Christ. The truth is that I cannot fathom how the unbeliever can graciously face the difficulties and anxieties that accompany this life without gospel of Jesus, without a biblical theology of suffering. Regardless of the outcome, Christ is mine and I am His. Adding to that the fact that my wife is also a believer brings all the more joy.
Suffering, trials, tribulations, afflictions…these are God’s ordained means of growth in the life of the Christian (Acts 14:22; 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:12). No other religion in the world would make such a claim. It forces us to face our own sinfulness and fall into the hands of the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of our bodies and souls. Does this mean we do not feel the pain of suffering? No, in this life there will be pain and heartache. Concern for our loved ones will always be there. But underneath it all, there is an unshakable joy in knowing that the God of the Scriptures has us in His heart and mind, and He will use these disconcerting moments to increase our faith, our holiness, and make us more like the Savior. Therefore, we can be strong and courageous in the Lord (Deut. 31:6; Eph. 6:10).
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5