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What We Cannot Escape

What We Cannot Escape

We all long for lives that are easy. We pray for roads that are smooth, seas that are calm, flights that are untroubled by turbulence. Yet our experience of life is so very different. The road is often narrow and winding, the seas often stormy, the skies often bumpy. And we wonder why—why doesn’t God decree an easier life, a less difficult journey to glory?

He is not silent in the face of such questions. Rather, he assures us that he makes use of difficulties and that they are good and even necessary for our sanctification. He uses them to shape us, to mold us, and to equip us for greater service. He assures us that his purposes do not end at the point that our trials begin, but rather pass through those trials and make the highest use of them.

We cannot escape temptation. If the devil tempted Christ, he will most certainly tempt those who follow Christ. But by God’s grace, we can meet temptations and pass through them in such a way that we remain unmarred and unbroken. We can pass through them in such a way that we emerge with renewed strength, restored faith, and increased confidence in the preserving power of the Holy Spirit. God uses temptation for good!

We cannot escape chastisement, for our Father loves us too much to allow us to remain immature and undisciplined. But with confidence that he is our kind Father, we can receive even these rebukes as proof of our adoption and proof of his love. We can accept them as a means of growth, a means of refinement, a means of purification. And with that in mind, we can rejoice even in pain, even in sorrow, for God is at work within us. He uses chastisement for good!

We cannot escape bereavement. None of our loved ones is immortal and immune to all harm and therefore none of our loved ones will ultimately avoid death. We will need to say goodbye to ones we have loved and need to press on without the presence of ones we have lost. But we are to bear such sorrows without being crushed by them, we are to endure them without being defeated by them. For God uses them to help us grow in sympathy toward others and to grow in our ability to minister to them. He uses them to increase our longing for the place in which we will never again suffer loss. God uses bereavement for good!

We are to bear our sorrows without being crushed by them, we are to endure them without being defeated by them.

We cannot escape persecution, for if our Savior endured the wrath of sinful men, we too will suffer their wrath, for we are called to follow in his footsteps. But in persecution we can rejoice, we can sing for joy, we can marvel that we have been counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Christ. We can do all this knowing that God uses our suffering to shore up the faith of those who may be wavering, to prove the tenacity of our faith before a doubting world, and to bring great glory to his name. God uses persecution for good!

The fact is, we cannot escape trials of every kind. We are too weak and this world is too broken to escape all difficulties. But with God’s help we can escape their futility, we can escape their power to defeat and destroy us. With His help we can receive those difficulties as falling within the bounds of his sovereignty, we can receive them as his will for us, and we can receive them as an opportunity to grow in godly character and persevere in godly hope.

In all our sorrows and all our afflictions, in our trials and all our losses, we can have confidence that God never means to destroy us and never means to ultimately harm us. To the contrary, he means to purify us and use us, to expand our capacity to love, to prepare and equip us for greater service. It is always his will that we pass through these fires refined but unburned, purified but unharmed, sanctified but unscarred. For God uses them all for good.


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    What We Cannot Escape

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