We have confessed that “God has created and by His providence doth still uphold all things.” There are spiritual consequences to that confession. We acknowledge thereby that all things are in His hands. We confess, further, that all things work together for good to the child of God. This becomes a very personal confession when we state that all things work together for my good. That is true for me both in adversity and in prosperity.
Whether it is sickness or health, whether it is fruitful or barren years, whether it is riches or poverty—God sends these upon the wicked in His wrath, but on His people in His love and grace. How, then, is the Christian to react to all of this?
The Christian is, and must be, “patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity.”
One surely would agree that we are to be thankful in prosperity. Of course. We enjoy health, prosperity, fruitful years, etc. Often, however, that is not the case. We can take these “good” things for granted. We begin to reason that it was our wisdom, our great effort that made us prosperous. We attribute our health to much exercise, to proper diet, to careful supervision over our health by a good doctor. But however much these means are contributing to our welfare, the fact is that God, our Father, directs and governs all of this. We must be thankful to God for it all. Never are we to forget that.
But it might be more difficult to be “patient in adversity.” This “patience” surely means that we don’t complain about what God has sent upon us. We do not rebel against His way with us. We do not conclude that God is punishing us for some specific sin. Rather, we bear all of this patiently. Have you not heard the Christian who is in great pain and in very difficult circumstances confess, “God is good”? That’s patience!
We ought, however, to go even beyond this. The Christian must also be thankful in adversity! Is that too hard for us? Is it not enough simply to “grit our teeth and bear it?” Yet if affliction is for our profit (Ps. 119), if all these things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28), then we can be thankful even through our tears. In ways we do not always understand, affliction “works for us a far more exceeding weight of glory.” (II Cor. 4:17)
In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:37).
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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