I am reading the book “His Robe or Mine” by Frank Phillips. The book explains how salvation works out in the life of the Christian. While the ideas are not new their presentation is powerful. The author shares a quote from the book “Thoughts on the Mount of Blessing” that I would like to share here. Let me set up the quote. The author of the passage, Ellen White is describing Jesus’ trial with all the physical and emotional abuse that he endured. She says:
“‘The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord’s permission, and “all things” that are permitted “work together for good to them that love God.'” Romans 8:28.
These words are powerful. It is difficult to imagine how Jesus was able to take comfort in the strikes and blows he received, being spat upon, being ridiculed and mocked and being treated as we deserve. Yet he took comfort in the fact that his father was permitting these things to happen.
I believe the application of these words to our lives offers the greatest opportunity for insight. In Jesus’ story we can see that these acts were part of the sacrifice that Jesus offered to the world. Yet when we look at our own misfortune, poor relationships, financial trouble, daily uncertainty, and illness or death, we label these as unnecessary for our development. We say with our false wisdom that these things are the results of sin: others’ sin, my sin. We think to ourselves if I made better choices or surrounded myself with Godly people these things would be minimized.
While there is truth to this I believe in thinking this way we miss the greater truth. God permits our trials for our blessing. No God is not the originator of death and evil, but He in His wisdom acts as sieve through which the sands of destruction are poured for our purification. This is why James can say “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Amen, Amen, Amen.