Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
When we are walking through the valleys of our lives, we must go back to the bedrock truths that guide our souls and sustain us through the waves and trials. The Scriptures anchor us in these realities, and we cling to Christ as winds and rains come in our lives. When we allow truth to define our lives instead of circumstances or our own emotions, there is a strength to stand. Pain and suffering remain, but Christ sustains us and His Word gives light in the darkness.
One of the foundational truths of the Word of God is that life is not about us. Think about that for a second. It is the most countercultural statement we could make in our world today. We come out of the womb ready to live for ourselves. We believe in what Paul David Tripp calls ‘the lie of self-sovereignty.’ All men and women fall for this. And even as Christians, we can catch ourselves in this mentality. We want things to go our way, and we react strongly when circumstances do not go as we want them to go. We want our money, and our nice job, and our health, and our happy family. And we can make the mistake of thinking that because we want some things that the Bible shows to be good things, that makes living life for ourselves okay.
The reality is that there is only one who is at the center of all existence, including ours. God created all of life, and He is sovereign and supreme over all of it. Only God knows the end from the beginning and is in control of the world. He is Lord over us, whether we acknowledge it right now or not. And God’s purpose is not centered on us. It is centered on Himself. The glory of God is the highest and best purpose in the universe.
This passage in Ephesians shows that even our adoption as children of God and our blessings in the heavenly places are unto the praise of His glorious grace. They are for His glory. He is proclaiming His own excellence. It is not because we are just so awesome and worthy. God is amazing. God is great. And because He is so great, He shows His incredible mercy to us by saving us, blessing us, adopting us, and restoring us to Himself. And we respond to that marvelous grace by living the rest of our lives to see that glory made known in our lives and the lives of those around us.
So how does that apply in suffering? Job saw this truth firsthand in his life. When Job questions God and God responds to him, the first thing God does is turn Job’s eyes off of himself and on to God. God diminishes Job’s view of himself and explodes his view of God. Job sees how little he knows and how little control he has. God is so vast, and His wisdom and understanding is so great. Job shuts his mouth and responds to God’s greatness by recognizing His rule over all of life.
In my darkest days, I cling to this truth. My life is not about me. My suffering is not about me. And that actually frees me. I am not sovereign. All I can do is look to Him and trust that He is in control. He always acts out of His nature. He is always good, and He always does what is right and true. And I can put all my hope in that. He is trustworthy.
I am suffering right now. Losing my daughter has been the hardest trial of my life. I do not understand everything that is happening. And I have realized how little control I actually have. But everything I have in my life is because of God’s grace. Everything I do not have is because of God’s grace. And my life is for His glory. Anna’s life is for His glory. Life is all about Jesus. My suffering is not about me. And that frees me to give myself to Jesus, no matter what happens to me. He knows. And He is supreme over all.