I thought Selwyn provided an excellent conclusion to this study (below). Often, I’ve felt, that I’ve a slightly different view of God’s sovereign powers, as compared to the view expressed by Selwyn – yet they are were, in general, minor differences of opinion. As, I’ve said in earlier posts – I think the Bible gives a sufficient knowledge of God to enable us to life, in a way which gives God glory. However, what we know of God is less that 1 % of what is ‘knowable’ – we can never pretend to know the full extent of God’s nature – and, if we say we do – then pride is at work in our heart and mind.
Selwyn wrote: “… I know one thing – the God who made the world has been here and seen for Himself what it is like to suffer. He took on the same flesh that you have. His nerve fibres were not bionic – they screamed with pain when misused (or abused). There is nothing known to us which He has not felt (excluding actual sin). … Take heart, beloved fellow traveller. No Matter what your struggles, your Lord has been there!”
The verses set for reading and meditation are Hebrews 12:1-11 (NLT) – the suffering mentioned in these verses , is a specific form of suffering – and, I think, they can’t be applied to all of the trials that we will face during our life-time: ” … Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”