Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh LORD, May It Be True Of Me!

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:7
Firm. Unwavering. Satisfied. He is not afraid not because God will give Him a life free of bad news but because God will satisfy Him in and through the bad news.

I love this verse. As I read over Psalm 112 a couple of times last night, it was as if this verse had been burned in my heart and mind. On a side note, this is how I most love to interact with Scripture. Though I may cover an entire chapter or two in a sitting, I am always looking for one verse or idea or two from the whole to pinpoint and make my meditation for the day. Few things are sweeter to me than this practice.

The reason I love this verse so much is that it goes to the very heart of my theology: that God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him, especially when all my circumstances should cause me to be dissatisfied, frustrated, fearful, or angry. Then, and most fully then, does God look like the Treasure of infinite worth that He truly is.

So this morning, this verse continued to reverberate in my heart and mind as I sang to the LORD.
...When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot,
Thou has taught me to say,
Even so, It is well with my soul.
What will make me able to sing that it is well with my soul when (not if) the bad news comes? Only if I have a heart that is firm, trusting in the LORD.
High king of heaven my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys O bright heaven's sun,
Heart of my own heart whatever befall,
Still be my Vision O Ruler of all!
What will enable me to keep God as my Vision, Heart of my own heart, whatever bad news does befall me? Only if I have a heart that is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Great is Thy faithfulness,
O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou has been Thou forever will be.
What will enable me to believe that God has not changed and that His compassions have not failed when the bad news comes? Only if I have a heart that is firm, trusting in the LORD.

So how can I cultivate a heart that is firm, trusting in the LORD so as to prepare for the bad news?

One way is for me to consider that no matter how bad the news is that I will receive, there is absolutely no way that it can overshadow or change the good news of what God has done for me in Christ. He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for me, how will he not also with Him freely give me all things (Romans 8:32)? As John Piper points out, calling this the solid logic of heaven, the hardest thing in the world for God to do was to crush His Son, whom He delights in with infinite pleasure. So if God did the hardest thing possible for me, the good news is that everything else is infinitely easier. No good thing will He withhold from me (Psalm 84:11). Indeed, for Him to withhold a good thing from me would make Him the loser in the end. And this He is not. He is irrevocably, irreversibly for me. Infinite wisdom and omnipotent strength fueled by holy wrath were once against me so as to make me as miserable as possible forever. But now infinite wisdom and omnipotent power fueled by endless streams of mercy and grace are for me so as to make me as happy as possible forever. Infinite wisdom and omnipotent strength. Forever.

We prepare for the bad news by pondering the good news because the good news always overshadows the bad. And from this side of the cross, the good news is what Christ has wrought on the cross. Because of Christ, it's all good news. Because of Christ, though Satan may mean it as bad news, God means it as good news in the long run (Genesis 50:20).

Though I don't expect this to lessen the pain and the tears that may follow when the bad news comes, I pray that meditating on and clinging to the good news of Jesus will make the heart underneath to be one of joyful confidence and satisfaction in the LORD then and fearlessness now.
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:7
Oh LORD, may it be true of me!

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