Although there are exceptions to the rules given in Proverbs, there are no exceptions to the rule that God is with His people in their deepest trials and has a good purpose for even the bleakest circumstance.
Today’s reading: Proverbs 15-16; 2 Corinthians 1
20 …and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. Proverbs 16:20b
For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 2 Corinthians 1:8b-10
There are several Proverbs here that seem to emphatically state that if one does right he will always be blessed, and, if he does evil, he will always suffer (Proverbs 15:6, 10, 22, 24; 16:3, 4, 7, 20). Yet both in our personal experience and in other parts of the Bible, we see the wicked enjoying, at least temporary, success, and godly people going through unspeakable trials. Paul himself was in this second category. [Note: We saw this apparent discrepancy a couple of days ago. Click here to review.]
The Apostle describes his suffering in terms of being on the verge of death. He had no hope in this world, but his trust in God was strengthened. God raises the dead. Maybe that was His plan. So Paul kept trusting God and was delivered. He could look back on what he went through as a means of growing his faith and trust.
Who doesn’t need to grow in trust in God? I’m sure I do.
If trust in God, such that He is glorified in whatever situation we are in, is our goal (and it should be), what might He use to bring about the purifying of our faith? In Job’s case, it was bereavement, financial devastation, chronic sickness, and constant pain. That was compounded by an insensitive wife and badly misinformed friends. In Paul’s case, it was some kind of near-death experience.
I do not wish for you or me to go through anything remotely resembling Job’s or Paul’s crises, but I am sure that the end result for us, like them, would be wonderful. Pray for those who suffer today. Pray that you will be faithful and that, whatever God chooses to send you, He will be with you and ultimately use it for great good and for a ministry of comfort to others.