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Are You Chosen? PREDESTINATION: COMFORT OR CONUNDRUM?


PREDESTINATION: COMFORT OR CONUNDRUM?

Guest Blogger:

In Memory Of and Written By

Rev. Carlston “RED” Berry

 

[Taken from Rev. Carlston "Red" Berry's "Off the 'STUDY' Wall"]


When we first learn the great truth set forth in the ancient confession of faith that tells us "God hath freely foreordained all things whatsoever shall come to pass,"[1] we find it a great source of joy and comfort.  Usually, we come into this truth in the context of our salvation, learning that we were chosen from before the foundation of the world.  We then realize that this truth carries over into what is called Providence --- God's moment-by-moment management of everything He has made.  Knowing our Heavenly Father holds everything and everyone in the palm of His hand gives us cause for both praise and prayer, for rest and resistance, acquiescence and activity.


However, as we continue on our pilgrim journey of faith, this wonderful doctrine of predestination can become more of a conundrum (a puzzle or mystery) than a comfort.  If God indeed did foreordain all things that come to pass, why did He ordain for us, the children He is supposed to love so dearly, some of the miserable things that happen to us?  If God could have ordained better things for us, why did He not do that?  We wonder when He allows a faithful wife to go through a painful divorce, when a loving husband and father is taken from his family in a tragic wreck with a drunk driver, why the child of godly christian parents is allowed to ruin his or her life with drugs and alcohol, or worse yet, be driven to suicide by a combination of worldly and demonic forces that should never have gained the power to bring such a tragedy to pass.


There are many things we might say in answer to this question.  The most common would be to point to Romans 8:28 and call for faith to rise to the occasion, believing that God is working all things together for our good.  That is a valid answer, but it may leave us a little short of emotional satisfaction.  There is nothing that can take away the grief and pain we feel in such situations, even though we can also point to the words of Peter and James, telling us not to think our trials are anything strange or unusual.  Rather, they are indeed something we should count as an occasion for actual joy, for as Paul has also told us, true believers rejoice in tribulation. Acceptance of any of these solutions calls for a strong exercise of faith, but they are true and valid. 


There is no answer that does not call for the exercise of faith, but one of the best ways to deal with the perversity and disappointment we sometimes experience under the predestinating hand of God is to remember this: He who foreordains the sufferings and disappointments also foreordains the ultimate outcome and rewards.  No matter what goes wrong, God is omnipotent and God is just --- He will someday make it right; it will someday be worth it all. (Moses thought so; see Hebrews 11:24-26.)  Some day we will be avenged of or rewarded for (or both) the wrongs done to us.  Some day, every unrepentant wicked person will stand before God and be judged for his works, then cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Then we will see the accuracy of Paul's assessment of things when he says that our "light affliction worketh for us a far more eternal weight of glory,"[2] reckoning that the sufferings of this present time are not even worthy to be compared to the glory that God has prepared for those He loves, who suffer gladly in His Name and for His cause.Some day He will heal all the broken hearts of all His children; some day, He will punish all wrongdoers.  As one pundit has put it, "Time heals all wounds --- and wounds all heels."  Substitute "God" for "time" and we are closer to the truth.  The works of both believers and unbelievers follow after them to judgment to determine the rewards of the former and the punishment of the latter.[3]  He who sends the workers into the vineyard is fully able to pay them what is right at the end of the day, no matter how hard the labor or how painful the work they are called upon to do.


So take comfort in your conundrums, child of God.  He who is to come will come, and He will bring His reward with Him.  Endure faithful to the end, and some day you, too, will hear His words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."[4]

No conundrum there --- just a great comforting promise.

 

Brother Red

 


[1]The Second London Confession of 1689

[2]2 Cor. 4:17

[3]2 Cor. 4:17

[4]Matt. 25:23

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