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What would you say to a friend who is having a “bad time” and is becoming “bitter” to God?
St. Augustine explains that: “God knows, controls and acts in all events in order to fulfill the divine purpose for the creation (Confessions, V, 7; on the Trinity, III, vi, viii, City of God,, V, 8).
“While we live our life here on earth, so long as we live it ‘with’ him, and allow him to live it ‘with’ us, then we experience the deep joy, satisfaction and security that the sheep knows in the presence of its good shepherd… We can be deeply and gratefully aware of God’s continuing presence with us in days when all goes well. It is just because of that,, however, David declares, that we can be sure of him when all does not go well, even when the light fades and we find ourselves in darkness… So the idea is that God’s comfort and strength are ‘with’ us in all kinds of darkness, in times of depression, serious illness, rejection by one’s friends, horror at discovering the disloyalty of one’s own heart, and so on, as well as the experience of disloyalty of one’s own heart, and so on, as well as the experience of death itself… But God’s loving presence declares David, will be real and true then as it is now when all goes well. We are to remember that in Biblical thinking although God is light, yet he dwells in the darkness into which we must go in our turn.” (George A. F. Knight – Commentary on Psalms – Psalm 23).
St. Aquinas elaborates that, “all things are subject to the government of God who rules everything immediately according to the design of providence and some things immediately according to the execution of this design through secondary causes. Thus God works in every action of every agent as its end, its first cause, and as its normal cause.” (Summa Theologiae, 1a, g. 103-105).
How am I being improved by my Father’s discipline?
According to Calvin; “Every natural event and human action is decreed, willed and directed by God” (Institutes, 1, xvi, 3-5; xvii, 6; xviii, 1-3).
D.M. Baille states it as:”Every Christian believes also that whatever comes to him comes from God, by God’s appointment, God’s providence. And not simply in the sense that God works through the natural (including the psychological) laws of His own ordaining; as if, having ‘wound up’ the universe to run by these laws, He had then left it to run it’s course. The Christian believes that in some sense everything comes to him directly from God whose working is always individual” (God was in Christ, pp 111-112).