I was struck a few days ago by something my husband said (and that in itself is nothing unusual). But I thought I would share the insight. Some friends of ours are in the midst of a very hard providence, and my husband said something like this, “God is not doing this to you; He is doing it for you.” This changes the way we read the story entirely. When we read the hand of Providence rightly, we interpret God’s ways in a good light, and we see by faith untold glories.
8 thoughts on “Reading Skills”
This changes a lot of things for me, right now, this week. Thank Pastor Wilson for me for this. God NEVER fails to use him and you during some very difficult times. I am off to go meditate on how I can re-orient my thinking.
Like Naomi, I find that God’s providence for me is bitter, but I am finding hope in that there is sweet goodness just beyond what I can see….
Nancy, I’ve got a couple off-topic questions:
One for me: Could you share some simple, concrete, practical ideas on how to cultivate gratitude? (Choosing my prepositions carefully is certainly a start! ;))
And one for a friend: I’m looking for a resource (or resources) to encourage a friend who’s struggling with being “irkable,” as she put it. Her kids, fellow homeschool co-op moms, church members…pretty much anybody whose behavior doesn’t measure up to her standards. (I’ve never, for the record, heard her say a negative thing about her husband, though.) She knows it’s a problem, and she was responsive to some of the ideas I tossed at her (modeling God’s love to her her kids, delighting in the saints for no other reason than because He does, being grateful for what people do even if it’s not everything you expected) but I’d like to give her something (or things) that she can read or listen to — books, articles, recording, whatever you can recommend along those lines.
Since you mention choosing, that is where I would start. Choose to be thankful in all circumstances. Gratitude is something to cultivate, which means working on it like a garden. Make a list of your blessings and keep adding to it. Remind God of all the fabulous, incredible benefits He has bestowed on you and regularly review these. That ought to be a good way to start.
Regarding your second question, I always tend to think of Jeremiah Burroughs’ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment because it addresses pretty much every possible angle on discontent which is what the root problem is when it comes to a critical spirit and ingratitude. You have probably read it yourself already, so you will be able to recommend it first hand.
I’ve been thinking about “He’s doing it FOR you” all evening… it takes a lot of faith to think of things in that way. The kind of faith that is a grace straight from God. And so now the prayer is for more faith, the kind of faith that can look at the immediate paragraph of this particular chapter and think “this is for me.” And so I pray for this particular grace.
We too have had our share of difficult providences over the past couple of years. Realizing that God is doing this “FOR’ us adds an element of excited anticipation to our prayers. It makes “Thy will be done” less a sigh of resignation (I confess to that one on too many occasions) and more a joyful embracing of the love, plans, and power of our awesome God.
I’d also like to recommend Matthew Henry’s book The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit for your friend. It has been a great blessing to me.
Actually I just ordered the Burroughs for myself a couple days ago, as I have never read it! After I’d written my comment last night, I thought about the idea of making a list. I fell asleep while praying a mental list, but I’m thinking the discipline of writing a journal of gratitude would be the way to go.
As I was looking through the Canon site for possibilities, I was wondering if your “Pleasant Home” lectures might address at least part of my friend’s issue. What think ye?