Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Summit and the Abyss

    Yesterday I had several opportunities to share with both groups and individuals the Apostle Paul's affirmation of God's assurance that He is wise enough, powerful enough, and most of all, loving enough to weave together all things in our lives unto a positive end.

    "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
    There are no greater encouragements in Scripture than the promise that both the highest mountaintops and lowest valleys serve as our Heavenly Father's means whereby He does the best thing He could do for us. That is, He works in all things that we might be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). This is the "good" referenced by Paul in Romans 8:28 that requires both heights and depths to fulfill. To become like the Lord Jesus in character involves both additions and subtractions to our being, meaning that the Christian life necessarily involves joy and sorrow. "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need" (Philippians 4:12).

    Such truth causes Romans 8:28 to be both blessed promise and stringent challenge to our hearts. We are doubtless greatly assured, but we must also face the fact that God's promise to waste nothing in our lives eliminates every excuse for self pity, despondency and despair. "All" means all, and thus we look into both light and darkness to see the good of our Heavenly Father's working in every contingency. This explains our calling to give thanks "in everything" as we make ongoing choices to believe that the great Weaver is stitching threads both pleasant and unpleasant into the tapestry of Christ being formed in us (I Thessalonians 5:18).

    In this day, the calling beckons us to realize that our innumerable blessings work toward our conformity to the spiritual and moral character of Christ. Let us give thanks. We also recognize that our many trials and tribulations accomplish the same exalted purpose. Let us give thanks. Again, our Father could do no better thing for us than to make us like His Son. And He can only fulfill this "good" by leading us to both the summit and the abyss. In both venues we discover the Lord Jesus if we look with eyes of faith, and thus find ourselves "changed into His image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

“The darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."
(Psalm 139:12)

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