“…then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials…” (2 Peter 2:9)
I read that verse on Monday morning, before going in for my beta but knowing the results would likely be negative. That phrase, “then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,” is one full of implicit questions and answers about suffering.
When faced with affliction, most of us wrestle with challenging questions. Why has God let this happen? Why won’t God stop this, take this pain away? Can God control the sorrow that batters me? If he can but doesn’t, can I trust him?
We need, I need, to hold tightly to two handles. The first handle is God’s sovereignty, his powerful ability to control all things in heaven and on earth. Nothing happens apart from his decision. The second handle is God’s goodness. Many of us only have a grip on that second handle. I think that, within contemporary Christianity at least, the most common answer to questions about suffering is that God is good and loving and would put an end to all our problems if he could, but, well, he’s just not strong enough to do that. I understand how alluring that seeming solution is, but that? Isn’t God. And it’s ultimately a sloppy sop of comfort. If God is powerful but not good, we’re all in trouble. If God is kindly but impotent, our trials are hopeless. But, praise him, he is both! He is King, and he is Love. When I suffer, I have to hang on to both handles of God’s sovereignty and goodness, dangling in the paradox of the space between them, mid-air in affliction but sure of the One to whom my soul clings.
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials. I am not stuck in the maze of infertility, following a God who doesn’t know the way, can’t see around the walls, and keeps running into dead ends. He knows how to get me out. He hasn’t yet, but that’s not because he takes sadistic pleasure in watching me scurry from bend to bend, corner to corner. It’s because he knows the best way to rescue me. That way may be longer and have more twists than I would like, but the path that looks quickest and easiest to me would get me lost. He made the maze, and he’ll lead me through it and out of it. He knows how to rescue me, and at just the right time, he will. He is a proven, wise, compassionate rescuer.
The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials. He knows, and he’s putting that knowledge to good use.