A Call to Joy and Pain

Crossway.blog has an interview with Ajith Fernando, author of “A Call to Joy & Pain,” which recently won a 2008 Christianity Today Book Award in the Church/Pastoral Leadership category.

You mention wanting to help people develop an approach to life that “refuses to look upon suffering as a big deal.” How can this be possible when we inherently view suffering as being a very big deal?

If we realize the great wealth of a life of godliness with contentment (1 Tim. 6:16) and the great wealth of our riches in Christ, then we are able to put suffering in perspective and look at it in relation to the greatest things in life. Then the sting of suffering is reduced. Our theology tells us that even suffering will work out for our good (Rom. 8:28). We realize that suffering is less significant than the love of God for us and in us (Rom. 8:31-38) and the deep joy of the Lord in us arising from the fact that God loves (1 John 3:1) and delights in us (Zeph. 3:17).

Read the whole interview.

Father Knows Best

“But we must so cherish moderation that we do not try to make God render account to us,
but so reverence his secret judgments as to consider his will the truly just cause of all things.

When dense clouds darken the sky, and a violent tempest arises,
because a gloomy mist is cast over our eyes,
thunder strikes our ears and all our senses are benumbed with fright,
everything seems to us to be confused and mixed up;
but all the while a constant quiet and serenity ever remain in heaven.

So must we infer that, while the disturbances in the world deprive us of judgment, God out of the pure light of his justice and wisdom tempers and directs these very movements in the best-conceived order to a right end.

And surely on this point it is sheer folly that many dare with greater license to call God’s works to account, and to examine his secret plans, and to pass as rash a sentence on matters unknown as they would on the deeds of mortal men. For what is more absurd than to use this moderation toward our equals, that we prefer to suspend judgment rather than be charged with rashness; yet haughtily revile the hidden judgments of God, which we ought to hold in reverence?”

John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” 1.17.1, paragraph 3

Not Even Shaken, Let Alone Stirred

“. . . when God is the center of the soul, although disasters may crowd in on all sides and roar like the waves of the sea, there is constant calm within.  The world can neither give nor take away this kind of peace. What is it that cause people to shake like leaves today at the first hint of danger? It is simply the lack of God living in their soul, and having the world in their hearts instead.”  R. Leighton quoted in “Streams in the Desert.”