Sovereign Grace – All I have is Christ

Thought I would just briefly share a song that has filled my mind all day for the last week or so. Text is copied and pasted from Sovereign Grace Ministries. As William said to me – what a powerful refrain. Those of you who knew me a little younger than I am today will know […]

On marriage and the name game

One of the questions Cheryl and I worked through soon after our marriage was the issue of changing her name. We talked and prayed it through for a couple of days during our honeymoon, before she eventually decided to adopt my family name and become a “Chong”. Thankfully In New Zealand it’s pretty convenient to […]

Broken to be made holy

This morning I woke up freshly irritated by a couple of sins I’d already committed in the first few seconds of consciousness. As God would have it, this occurred around 4:00 am. So, I had at least two hours before dawn, to stew on my/others’ shortcomings, which eventually boiled into those of the last few […]

Suffering

Our church is currently going through a series on the theology of suffering (and, of course, the sovereignty of God). These lyrics from the sovereign grace CD Come Weary Saints, by Mark Altrogge, come to mind.

Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain?
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine,
Yet grumble in days of rain?
Shall I love You in times of plenty,
Then leave You in days of drought?
Shall I trust when I reap a harvest,
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?

CHORUS
Oh let Your will be done in me!
In Your love I will abide,
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified!

Are You good only when I prosper,
And true only when I’m filled?
Are You King only when I’m carefree,
And God only when I’m well?
You are good when I’m poor and needy,
You are true when I’m parched and dry,
You still reign in the deepest valley,
You’re still God in the darkest night!

BRIDGE
So quiet my restless heart, quiet my restless heart
Quiet my restless heart in You

Perhaps most poignant to me in suffering is a church sister, one of my closer friends, whom I think I mentioned before. Her very young daughter has a life-threatening heart condition, and the medical experts on her case a couple of weeks ago have finally said there is nothing more they can do. Can you watch your child die? Can you bury your own child, who is so vibrant and unique? What did she do to deserve this? God, why are we suffering?

While He creates calamity (Isaiah 45:7) and rains on both the righteous and unrighteous (Matt 5:45), our holy, just, merciful, patient, infinitely loving God does not author sin and suffering. We recall that He also allowed His own Son, whom He loved, to die. He was sinless and therefore least deserving of suffering, but Christ received the greatest suffering of all. So why injustice? Why must my child die? Because of God’s purposes, which are higher than ours. In His loving, perfect, compassionate wisdom, He allowed it. Oh, God, you are a wonderful, glorious, mysterious God.

One day all tears will be wiped away, imperfect made perfect, death reversed, and You will be glorified as much as You finally deserve. Til then, we seek Your glory with every stumbling breath we breathe, our continual sins covered by Your blood, and even in the depths of our suffering, we know that You are still God, and You are still good.

On John Piper’s sabbatical

John Piper, preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, announced his upcoming sabbatical from all public commitments and explains why: “Noël [John’s wife] and I are rock solid in our commitment to each other, and there is no whiff of unfaithfulness on either side. But, as I told the elders, “rock solid” is […]

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