Comfort for Suffering Saints!
(Jerome Zanchius, 1516-1590)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!" Romans 8:28-29
The sovereignty of God is a comfort for suffering saints, acting to remove anxiety. How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer!
1. There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God (Hebrews 11:6).
2. His love for His elect people is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it (Jeremiah 31:3).
3. Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His sovereign will from everlasting (1 Corinthians 8:6).
4. Consequently my afflictions are a part of His sovereign will, and are all ordered in number, weight, and measure (Psalm 22:24).
5. The very hairs of my head (every one) are counted by Him; nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His wise determination (Luke 12:7).
6. Hence my afflictions and distresses are not the result of chance, accident, or a fortuitous combination of circumstances (Psalm 56:8).
7. They are the providential accomplishment of God's eternal purpose (Romans 8:28), and are designed to answer some wise and gracious ends (James 5:10-11).
8. Nor shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees fit (2 Corinthians 7:6-7).
9. He who brought the affliction to me — has promised to support me under it and to carry me through it (Psalm 34:15-17).
10. All shall, most assuredly, work together for His glory and my good.
11. Therefore, "Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?" (John 18:11).
However keenly afflictions might wound us on their first access — yet, under the impression of such animating views, we should quickly come to ourselves again, and the arrows of affliction, would, in great measure lose their sharpness.
Christians need nothing but absolute resignation to God's wise and gracious Providence, to render them perfectly happy in every possible circumstance. And absolute resignation can only flow from an absolute belief of, and an absolute acquiescence in, God's absolute Providence, founded on His absolute predestination (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4).