Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
How does that verse strike you (pun not intended)? What is your response? As a counselor, perhaps no question is more vexing than that of evil or suffering. In this verse Moses is recalling the 40 years of wilderness travels. Forty years Israel lived in “the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water” (Deut 8:15). Forty years God afflicted Israel.
In those same 40 years Moses, the same author, also saw God’s mercy, “in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place” (Deut 1:31).
In the same event…40 years in the wilderness, true truths were operative: God was afflicting and God was carrying through the affliction.
Beloved, allow me to lay before you a vital truth: God IS good, and great, and wise…in BOTH affliction (punishment and/or discipline) and attention. I like how one pastor said it well,
“If we would see God honored in each other’s lives as the supreme value, highest treasure, and deepest satisfaction of our lives, then we must each strive with all our might to live and to show the meaning of suffering, and help others see the wisdom and power and goodness of God behind it ordaining; above it governing; beneath it sustaining; and before it preparing. This is the hardest work in the world: to change the minds and hearts of fallen human beings, and make God so precious to each other that we count it all joy when trials come, and exult in our affliction, and rejoice in the plundering of our property, and say in the end, ‘To die is gain'” (John Piper, “Counseling with Suffering People,” JBC, Winter 2003, 18-19).
In your suffering…in your pain…when others sin against you…
Is GOD the biggest reality in the room?
I pray HE is.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,