Stephen Altrogge | It can be so discouraging when we encounter trials. It can be confusing and discouraging, and we can wonder what God is really up to. It can seem like God is distant and far off, or like things are spiraling out of control.
But they’re not. John Newton provides this wonderful reminder:
He drank off the full cup of unmixed wrath for us; shall we then refuse to taste of the cup of affliction at his appointment, especially when his wisdom and love prepare it for us, and proportion every circumstance to our strength; when He put it into our hands, not in anger but in tender mercy, to do us good, to bring us near to himself; and when He sweetens every bitter draught with those comforts which none but He can give? Let us rather say, None of these things move us, neither do we count anything on this side of eternity dear, so that we may finish our course with joy and run with patience the race which is set before us. (Letters of John Newton, pg. 50)
Every trial is prepared by the gracious hands of our Father, and they are given to us not in anger, but in tender mercy. And when God gives us trials, he provides comfort in the midst of those trials that only he can give. He sweetens the bitter draught with experiences of his grace and strength.
God ordains trials, not to push us away from him, but to draw us near to him.