Mark Talbot, another contributor to Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, considers, “All the Good that is Ours in Christ: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do To Us.” Ponder the following thoughts and listen to his message.
“Paul reports afflictions so severe that he and those with him ‘despaired of life itself’ (2 Cor. 1:8; see vv. 8-11). Many of us have tasted such grief. I have known afflictions much worse than my paralyzing accident. I have had seasons of perplexity about God’s providence that have been so deep that sleep has fled from me. Yet these griefs have been God’s gifts. For only by such severe suffering has my loving Father broken me free of some of my deeper idolatries. In the nights’ watches, while others sleep, my wakeful heart must find its rest in him or it will find no rest at all.
‘Be gracious to me, O God,’ David prayed when the Philistines seized him at Gath, ‘for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. When I am afraid,’ he states,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
‘All day long,’ David continues, ‘they twist my words;’
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife; they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life. (Ps. 56:1-6)
But God, David knows, has kept count of his nightly tossings; he has numbered his futile wanderings; he has kept track of all of David’s sorrows. He has put David’s tears in a bottle and written all of his anguish in his book. And David knows that the God who cares for him that much will never abandon him. ‘This I know,’ he declares, ‘that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ (Ps. 56:9b-11; my emphasis). David knows that God will keep his feet from sliding so that he may still walk before God ‘in the light of life’ (Ps. 56:13).”