Monday, October 01, 2007

God's Protection

Last night, I read this devotional from Elizabeth Elliot. Talk about relevance to what I am praying through regarding suffering. Wow!

I was troubled by the possibility of my previous post being misconstrued. I do not believe God enjoys watching us suffer. Quite the contrary! He loves us dearly enough to pursue us despite our continual rebellion--even though it meant the sacrificial death of His Son. In the same way earthly parents allow their children to feel pain if it is for their ultimate healing (I think of vaccinations and surgery, for example), how much more will our Father in heaven allow pain in our lives if it is for our ultimate good?

Here are Elizabeth's words:
"How do we reconcile God's promises for protection with the fact that so many evil things do happen in our lives? Can we believe God for protection?

This question comes up often, and no wonder, since there are many promises in the Bible about protection, including (especially in the Old Testament) physical protection. We must be careful to interpret Scripture with Scripture, and if we examine the record we find that God did not by any means always protect His people from harm. He has absolute power to keep us safe, both physically and spiritually, but His engineering of the universe made room for man's freedom to choose--that is, freedom to will to obey or to disobey Him. This is a deep mystery. Man's disobedience brought evil into the world, and all of us are subject to it. God does not cancel out its effects, even for His choicest servants (John the Baptist, Stephen, those nameless victims of Hebrews 11:35-37, for example).

Nevertheless, we have the promises. Romans 8:35-39 is one of my most reread passages. I believe we can rest assured that we are invulnerable so long as God does not give permission for us to be hurt. If He gives that permission, He will not leave us alone. He goes with us through the valley, the deep water, the furnace. He will never, absolutely never, leave us or forsake us."

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39 (NIV)


R said...

Good words! Thank you for sharing that!

Fran said...

I can't believe that I hadn't really thought of that before....I guess I have, just not as clearly written as that.

Thank you for sharing. We are conquerors.....with Him. NOTHING separates us from the love of God.


Kelly said...

I don't know if you're familiar with the song "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens. The lyrics are a profound statement of this truth. They meant (and still mean) a great deal to me.

A sample:

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to