"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
As I said in the last post my reason for responding to Bill Johnson's statements was because he was undermining a truth that is very precious to me, namely that God has a purpose behind the suffering of His saints. The God who is sovereign over the entire world (Dan 4:35), ordains the suffering of His loved ones (Ex: Paul):
"For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (Acts 4:35)
This is only half of the story, the other half is the God who sustains His loved ones in the midst of trials that they may rejoice in Him. God is glorified by His saints being satisfied in Him in the midst of affliction. God's grace is promised to be with His own to the end, John Piper speaks of sustaining grace like this:
"It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think
To Spurgeon to say that God had not ordered and designed his sufferings would be to a blow to his spiritual health. He also goes on to say that it is out of his sufferings that he has received the most good.
"One Sabbath morning, I preached from the text, 'My God, My God, why has
I think that this testimony is amazing, the purpose of God in Spurgeons' suffering is so evident. Honestly what place do the Joseph's, Jeremiah's, Hosea's, and Paul's (to name a few) have in a view of God who would never order trials for a greater good? In case there be any doubt to the truth that it is God who orders and designs our trials, John Bunyan gives us a nice list of scriptures showing otherwise:
I think ultimately the fact that God orders our suffering is a great comfort, for He has designed all the details and He is not biting His nails as trials beset His church. Also as Bunyan points out as Christian is in Doubting castle the "key" that unlocked the door and set the prisoners free from the dungeon was "promise" which was located in Christians bosom. The promises of the word stored up within our hearts is a opener of grace upon the suffering saint.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:11-14)
For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (Heb 10:32-34)
***(Spurgeon and Bunyan quotes taken from DesiringGod)***