On Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

Today I’m going to share some exerts from a book I’m reading by Elisabeth Elliot, and some thoughts of my own afterwards. They are all primarily about suffering and God’s sovereign hand in it. I pray that these words will encourage you this morning.

“Have you noticed those two verses in Psalm 147 that juxtapose God’s concern for the wounded and His numbering and naming the stars? His compassion and His power are mentioned together that we might understand that the Lord of the Universe is not so preoccupied with the galaxies that He cannot stoop to minister to our sufferings. He is the One who is in sovereign control of our lives, and of every single thing that touches them. Nothing can pass through the fortress of His love….

“Our sufferings are not for nothing. Never. However small they may be, we may see them as God’s mercy in giving us the chance to unite them with His own sufferings…

“A broken heart is an acceptable offering to God. He will never despise it. We do not know what unimagined good He can bring about through our simple offering. Christ was willing to be broken bread for the life of the world. He was poured out like wine. This means He accepted being ground like wheat and crushed like grape. It was the hands of others who did the grinding and crushing. Our small hurts, so infinitely smaller than His, may yet be trustfully surrendered to His transforming work. The trial of faith is a thing worth much more than gold.”

(taken from Quest for Love, by Elisabeth Elliot)

First of all let me just say that I love how even in a book that’s supposedly about relationships (its a follow-up to Passion and Purity), Elisabeth Elliot has whole chapters on the subject of suffering. But it does stray into every part of our life, doesn’t it?

And I’m not referring only to “big sufferings,” like a death in the family or a serious illness, though those certainly apply, too. Mrs. Elliot defined suffering as “having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have” (as I quoted in my Christmas post last year 🙂 ). That includes just about everything we go through on a daily basis. Sure, some things hurt more and longer and more bitterly. But even the little things are sufferings.

Never belittle your suffering—Jesus doesn’t. He doesn’t qualify His command (yes, command) to “come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden” with “as long as it’s a big suffering.” He wants us to cast our burdens on Him—all our burdens—that’s how much He cares about us.

Even small things—or, I might venture to say, especially small things—are to be cast on Him. Ultimately, we must remember that our sufferings, great or small, may be cast upon our God who loves us. If He knows how many hairs are on your head, how many stars are in the sky, how many pieces of sand are on this earth (including the deserts and the bottom of the ocean, and your car when you come back from the beach!), don’t you think He cares about your trials?

I hope that God is able to use something said here to minister to you today.


Linking up with Wise Woman, Dance with Jesus, Grace & Truth, and Soul Survival. 

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