, , , ,

The Christian can believe that God uses trials to humble us. We can see the good in the abstract, but in the concrete we look to the actual instruments and miss the one who wields the instruments. Habakkuk at first sees Babylon, and misses God’s hand. Joseph in the end sees God at work in his brothers’ evil.

Thomas Boston in The Crook in the Lot deftly explains the psychology of suffering: we look at the instrument and think, “He is in the wrong!” That very well may be true, but it is also irrelevant to the Christian who seeks the good of humility from the trial:

Whatever hand is, or is not, in your humbling circumstances, do you take God for your party, and consider yourselves therein as under his mighty hand, Micah 6:9. Men in their humbling circumstances overlook God: so they find not themselves called to humility under them; they fix their eyes on the creature-instrument, and instead of humility, their hearts rise. But take him for your party, that ye may remember the battle, and do no more, Job 41:8.

We are called upon merely to forgive; judgment lies we God. Thus God frees us to ignore the instrument and to leave ourselves with God alone.