Paul Tripp: Learn to Accept Reality
From an article posted by Paul Trip: http://www.paultrippministries.org/survivalskill2
Have you ever been reading the Bible and suddenly you are shocked, embarrassed, or confused by something that you're reading? What shocks you as you read God's Word? I want to look with you at the most shocking place in the entire Bible.
Paul Tripp writes about the most shocking place in the entire Bible.
I needed this...I think YOU need to read this, so here are some extracts and teasers:
God's grace is bigger and more powerful than anything that we could ever face, than any of our brokenness and our failures.
Modern Christianity tends to deal with brokeness and failure by blurring the memory or comparing ourselves with others. Affirmation without honest self-criticism is like aspirin for cancer. Building self-esteem without recognizing, and exulting in, the depths from which God has rescued us is like reupholstering a chair with broken legs. Failing to look at reality actually diminishes our dependence upon and exaltation of God. His grace becomes less necessary as we try to minimize the desperate straits our sin has placed us.
This dark and shocking passage that I want to look at with you is shocking because it forces you to face reality. It's Psalm 88.
Paul quotes all of Psalm 88 and he's right: it's shocking. It's so despairing and depressing, that it actually becomes hugely encouraging!
My soul is full of trouble...You have put me in the lowest pit...Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
I have suffered your terrors and am in despair...Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me.
Darkness is my closest friend.
One radical facet of this depressing, dark psalm, is that it reveals the involvement of God in terrible troubles, even in what is rightfully labeled evil.
I spoke yesterday with a friend at work, and I told him that God is sovereign, even to the point that nothing is out of His control or design, including evil. I went so far as to say that God just doesn't merely allow evil, He creates it!
My friend's response was adamant: God doesn't create evil, but He did create Satan who IS the the author of evil, so in that sense, perhaps, God creates evil.
But Psalm 88 graphically describes God's involvement in distress, as does Isaiah 45:7,
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Honesty and Hope
If there's a powerful message, if there's an encouraging message in the Word of God, it is this: that honesty and hope can exist together; that dishonesty is never a pathway to hope.
Hope in God, trust in His providence, and glorying in His sovereignty, all depend upon an honest, self-critical awareness of my sin, my weakness, my anger, my depression...placing it all in stark contrast against God's greatness.