It is good that I am afflicted

It is late and I am exhausted.  One of my brothers from church came over to help me with some minor water problems we were having at the house.  Had the air conditioner man and a washing machine repair man out yesterday when those things quit working.  The washing machine still isn’t working right.  And after springing about a 30-foot geyser spray at the well house a few short hours ago, we have no water whatsoever.  My daughter ran outside while we were still wrangling with the well to let me know the air conditioner had frozen up again, too.  I sent my wife and kids over to my brother’s house to stay the night.  Thank You God for our church family.

So many things deteriorated under our hands tonight that it was almost funny.  Actually, it was funny.  In fact, at one point I decided I should pray and ask God to please help us since nothing seemed to be turning out right and I could barely talk because I started laughing so hard.  I couldn’t even pray right.  What a night.  Then toward the end of it, my brother pointed at the book I’ve been reading (Jeremiah Burroughs’ “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment”), saying that’s a perfect book for you right now.  I told him, “I’m actually reading it right now.  This is what I read this morning.”  And then I read this to him:

6. CONTENTMENT IS FREELY SUBMITTING TO AND TAKING PLEASURE IN GOD’S DISPOSAL.

Submitting to God’s disposal-What is that? The word submit signifies nothing else but ‘to send under’. Thus in one who is discontented the heart will be unruly, and would even get above God so far as discontent prevails.

But now comes the grace of contentment and sends it under, for to submit is to send under a thing. Now when the soul comes to see its own unruliness-Is the hand of God bringing an affliction and yet my heart is troubled and discontented-What, it says, will you be above God? Is this not God’s hand and must your will be regarded more than God’s? O under, under! get you under, O soul! Keep under! keep low! keep under God’s feet! You are under God’s feet, and keep under his feet! Keep under the authority of God, the majesty of God, the sovereignty of God, the power that God has over you! To keep under, that is to submit. The soul can submit to God at the time when it can send itself under the power and authority and sovereignty and dominion that God has over it. That is the sixth point, but even that is not enough. You have not attained this grace of contentment unless the next point is true of you.

7. CONTENTMENT IS TAKING PLEASURE IN GOD’S DISPOSAL.

This is so when I am well pleased in what God does, in so far as I can see God in it, though, as I said, I may be sensible of the affliction, and may desire that God in his due time would remove it, and may use means to remove it. Yet I am well pleased in so far as God’s hand is in it. To be well pleased with God’s hand is a higher degree than the previous one. It comes from this: not only do I see that I should be content in this affliction, but I see that there is good in it. I find there is honey in this rock, and so I do not only say, I must, or I will submit to God’s hand. No, the hand of God is good, ‘it is good that I am afflicted.’ To acknowledge that it is just that I am afflicted is possible in one who is not truly contented. I may be convinced that God deals justly in this matter, he is righteous and just and it is right that I should submit to what he has done; O the Lord has done righteously in all ways! But that is not enough! You must say, ‘Good is the hand of the Lord.’ It was the expression of old Eli: ‘Good is the hand of the Lord,’ when it was a sore and hard word. It was a word that threatened very grievous things to Eli and his house, and yet Eli says, ‘Good is the word of the Lord.’ Perhaps, some of you may say, like David, ‘It is good that I was afflicted’, but you must come to this, ‘It is good that I am afflicted.’ Not just good when you see the good fruit it has wrought, but to say when you are afflicted, ‘It is good that I am afflicted. Whatever the affliction, yet through the mercy of God mine is a good condition.’ It is, indeed, the top and the height of this art of contentment to come to this pitch and to be able to say, ‘Well, my condition and afflictions are so and so, and very grievous and sore; yet, through God’s mercy, I am in a good condition, and the hand of God is good upon me notwithstanding.’ I should have given you several Scriptures about this, but I will give you one or two, which are very striking. You will think it is a hard lesson to come so far as not only to be quiet but to take pleasure in affliction.

Ah, it is good that I can laugh.  It is good that I had a brother over here tonight to help me out and to share the “miseries”.  That made them so much less than they might have been.  It is good that my family was able to go stay somewhere tonight that has running water.  And Lord help me say it and mean it, though it is ever so trivial and slight: It is good that I am afflicted.

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