And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose
A month ago I wrote a little about Thomas Watson, a great Puritan writer of the seventeenth century. I thought today I would return to his little book “All Things for Good” as it is often all to easy to see events as somehow outside the control of God. We are happy to call good things “blessings”, but it is all to natural to fail to see that there can be good in hardship.
If, in the midst of suffering and gloom, we can keep one eye fixed upon the blessing stacked shelves of heaven we might endure with a lighter heart. Affliction is a tool which in God’s hands can be used with great precision. The Apostle Paul, no stranger to hardship, once reflected “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5).
So, with that in mind, back to Thomas Watson:
“Learn how little cause we have then to be discontented at outward trials and troubles! What! Discontented at that which shall do us good! All things shall work for good. There are no sins God's people are more subject to, than unbelief and impatience. They are ready either to faint through unbelief, or to fret through impatience. When men fly out against God by discontent and impatience, it is a sign they do not believe this text. Discontent is an ungrateful sin, because we have more mercies than afflictions; and it is an irrational sin, because afflictions work for good. Discontent is a sin which puts us upon sin. "Fret not yourself to do evil" (Psalm 37:8). He who frets will be ready to do evil: fretting Jonah was sinning Jonah (Jonah 4:9). The devil blows the coals of passion and discontent, and then warms himself at the fire. Oh, let us not nourish this angry viper in our bosom! Let this text produce patience, "All things work for good to those who love God" (Romans 8:28). Shall we be discontented at that which works for our good? If one friend should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it, should graze his head—he would not be troubled much, seeing by this means he had got a bag of money. Just so, the Lord may bruise us by afflictions—but it is to enrich us. These light afflictions work for us an eternal weight of glory—and shall we be discontented!”