As I read, I was thinking ... this is a hard saying. "Every single thing that happens to a believer expresses God's love to him and comes for the furthering of God's purpose for him. God is love to him -- holy, omnipotent love -- in every moment and in every event of every day's life. Even when he cannot see the why and wherefore of God's dealings, he knows there is love in them and behind them and so he can rejoice always even when, humanly speaking, things are going wrong."

(excerpt from KNOWING GOD by J.I.Packer)

But .. but .. but .. we live in a fallen world and we are surrounded by tragedy and grief on every side. Our lives are often filled with long-term difficulties and out-of-the-blue hardship.

Wait, wait and think, think and ponder my straining mind and reaching heart. Have I truly grasped the reality of both the universal and personal Sovereignty of God? Do I abide in the stronghold of TRUTH that He has never relinquished one iota of His Sovereignty?

There are no inconsistencies in the love of Almighty God. His love is as strong as death; many waters cannot quench it. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7) Although truly God is love, His love is holy love and sentimental ideas of His love must be ruled out.

Suddenly my thoughts are arrested and I seem to be in an exquisite garden when, in the midst of breath-taking beauty, I sense a silent slithering and hear a chilling hiss! Then, to my horror, I overhear Eve being seduced into doubting God's love, into believing that God is deliberately withholding from her some good thing (Genesis 3:5-6).

What good thing am I praying for, good that seems long delayed? Will I listen to the insidious whispers and take Eve's path?

Will I choose to doubt God's love and accuse Him of withholding good from me?

No, I will not take that false and dangerous road.

How could I ever believe that, having been redeemed at such infinite cost, I am now left hanging, a defenceless pawn blowing in the winds of chance?

I fasten the belt of TRUTH more securely around me and the crafty lies slink off into the murky mist of darkness. But I will walk in the Light, the Light of God's unfailing, unchanging, all-wise, all-powerful love. Can I believe, will I believe that the ideal which the God Who loves me has for me, is that I should be "perfect" even as my Father in Heaven is perfect? (Matthew 5:48). I'm learning that it's because of His personal love for us that we are sometimes exposed to drastic discipline and refining. Not just some things but all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

Yes, it is a hard saying, Dr.Packer, but certainly you are right. Of course we are not expected to rejoice because of adverse circumstances. No spiritually-healthy, well-balanced saint chooses suffering. As we are lovingly drawn deeper into the very heart of God, our joy is to be in Him ... no matter the circumstances.

The love God shows to us is a revelation of His own inner being. How awesome is the privilege of knowing Him. Oh sweet wonder ... we can be led deeper into the mystery of God's nature.

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