Suffering, Snow, & Sovereignty

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The Lord asks of Job, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow . . . which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22-23)

Job is reminded that what is visibly apparent in snow is not the whole story of snow – there’s more! Putting aside the scientific data of what we know about snow that Job did not, we remain in awe of the fluffy white stuff that you can roll up in a ball, or watch it pile up flake by flake on 60 ft. oak tree and snap it in half. Snow has a hundred reasons why it captures our interest. But basically, God had one reason for asking this unanswerable question: you got it – it’s unanswerable, and yet you’re looking at it, touching it, tasting it, feeling it, and listening to it as it falls quietly at night. If it’s impossible to fully discern what you’re looking at, how much more then is it impossible to discern the connections of God’s ways that you cannot see?

The logic from our Creator is this:

“If you can’t figure snow out fully with your earthly senses, then you can’t possibly think that your thoughts about Me and my ways are spot-on; I’m bigger than that. In fact, one day I’m going to put on such a display of suffering and sovereignty that no one should ever doubt again that I am capable of doing you good through your personal suffering. One day, I’m going to send my own son to suffer – and it will be the most perfect display of my character. Dear suffering child of mine, I know how to hold on to you while you suffer under my hand and I know how to humiliate the devil at the same time. I know how to refine you and I know how to do all of this and remain just. It’s who I AM. Trust me, and look to the Cross of Christ . . . and enjoy the snow today – I made it for my pleasure and for your encouragement!”

“Make it Right with Her, Then We’ll Talk” – Jesus

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution . . . Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 2:13a, 3:7

Much counsel has been written and given over this passage and so I have no new insight. I only have the reminder of it for you. If you are a husband who loves Jesus Christ, Jesus says, “make it right with her, then we’ll talk.” I cannot afford to ignore this admonishment from my Lord. Jesus takes it personally when I am indifferent and harsh to Cheryl, refusing to make a life with her that honors her. Briefly then,

1. Husbands, set aside your jokes that impugn your wife’s character simply because she is female. Jesus is not laughing.

2. Husbands, there is more to your life than living for yourself. Jesus died for you.

3. Husbands, seek to know the creature that God created for you. Jesus knows her.

4. Husbands, show her honor, not dishonor because she is the weaker vessel. She is weaker not because she is inferior but because she cannot defend herself against a domineering man. Know this, Jesus, her big brother will.

5. Husbands, she walks side-by-side with you in this life of grace. Grace is what describes this union. Jesus is the source of this grace.

6. Husbands, pray for this calling upon you and implement this calling by God’s grace, then your prayer-life will continue to produce godliness. Jesus says, “make it right with her – as much as it lies within your power, then lift up your prayers to me.”

7. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For ‘Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil'” – 1 Peter 3:8-12

Wow! Do I Love This Book

I’ve been encouraged and instructed by many books on pastoral ministry but not like this one. It’s so good that those who are not pastors and do not preach sermons would benefit greatly from it because it would help them see what God wants in their pastor and in their church. This would go a long way in helping the church to seek and pray for this kind of ministry. Here is a paragraph from Paul David Tripp’s new book, “Dangerous Calling.”

“I am more and more convinced that what gives a ministry its motivations, perseverance, humility, joy, tenderness, passion, and grace is the devotional life of the one doing ministry. When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of his Word, I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Savior. There simply is no set of exegetical, homiletical, or leadership skills that can compensate for the absence of this in the life of a pastor. It is my worship that enables me to lead others to worship. It is my sense of need that leads me to tenderly pastor those in need of grace. It is my joy in my identity in Christ that leads me to want to help others live in the middle of what it means to be “in Christ.” In fact, one of the things that makes a sermon compelling is that the preacher is worshiping his way through his own sermon.” pg. 35