Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand – Chapter 7
Robin and I are going through the book Instruments in the Redeemers Hands with our daughter and Son in-law. This week we were supposed to talk about chapter 7. As we read this chapter, Robin and I felt like God had written this just for us in our ministry. So, since I was thinking about this chapter so much, I thought I would just write about what God is challenging me with.
Paul Tripp goes on to say, “Suffering is not only the common ground of human relationships, but one of God’s most useful workrooms. As God’s ambassadors, we need to learn how to identify with those who suffer.” He gives the example of Christ in Hebrews 2:10-12 as our model “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering… That is why he is not ashamed to called them brothers.”
We share identity (brother), we share experience (suffering), and we are of the same family (God’s kids). God sends people my way, not only so that they will change, but so that I will too. I have a front row seat to the heart-transforming work of God, I minister to others with greater hope, expectancy, and courage.
Paul Tripp is so right. I am not what people need. My purpose in what I do needs to be to connect them to a living, active, redeeming Christ. He gives them what they need so that they can do what they have been called to do amid the difficulties of life. I am nothing more than a brother. I stand alongside them and point them to the Father. I stand next to them and tell them stories of his amazing love and care. I share with them the things I have learned on his lap and at his feet. I take their hand and walk with them to him. As their brother I need to put the focus where it must be — on our all-wise, almighty, and ever-present Father.
Christ wants me to give evidence of what he can do. As I am humbly honest, the Redeemer will use my story to bring hope to another person.
Paul Tripp goes on to talk about 2 Cor. 1:3–11. In this passage the apostle Paul gives us a model to follow (2 Cor 1:3-7) and a methodology to use (2 Cor 1:8-11) for redeeming suffering in our own lives, and in the lives of those we minister to.
“Real comfort is found when I understand that I am held in the hollow of the hand of the One who created and rules all things. The most valuable thing in my life is God’s love, a love that no one can take away. When my identity is rooted in him, the storms of trouble will not blow me away. This is the comfort we offer people. We don’t comfort them by saying that things will work out. They may not. Comfort is found by sinking our roots into the unseen reality of God’s ever-faithful love.”
This is displayed in the words of Romans 5:3-5. “We rejoice in our sufferings, KNOWING that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because GOD’S LOVE has been poured into our hearts…”
In 1 Peter 4:12-13 Peter also tells us “Do not to be surprised when we face trials, but rejoice because you are participating in the suffering of Christ.” Tripp says, “Suffering does not mean that God’s plan has failed.IT IS THE PLAN. Suffering is a sign that we are in the family of Christ and the army of the kingdom. We suffer because we carry his name. We suffer so that we may know him more deeply and appreciate his grace more fully. We suffer so that we may be part of the good he does in the lives of others. A whole host of self-absorbed temptations greet us when we treat suffering as something that belongs to us. This passage reminds us that our suffering belongs to the Lord. It is an instrument of his purpose in us and for others.”
“The redemptive purpose in all of this is hope in a fallen world. God wants to raise up people filled with hope. True hope is not rooted in my achievements or assets, but in my knowledge that I am the child of the King. He loves me with a love that nothing can take away. He has given me his forgiving and empowering grace. He is daily changing and maturing me. He has promised that I will live with him forever in a place without suffering, sorrow, or sin. This means that in the most difficult moments of my life, nothing truly permanent or valuable is at stake. What I really live for is safe and secure. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that I am in the family of God, eternally loved and cared for by him. This is real hope.
Declarations of Truth
- The most important thing in my life is God’s love. There is nothing than will stop God loving me. There is nothing that will separate me from His love for me. (Rom 8:38-39) My identity is rooted in him. (John 17:23)
- Because my identity is rooted in God’s love, the storms of trouble will not blow me away. I choose to focus on His enduring love instead of the circumstances. (Ps 25:10; Ps 36:5-7)
- God’s love does not prevent suffering in my life, but it gives me an anchor to hold on to in the midst of the storm. (Ps 63:3; Ps 103:10-12)
- Suffering does not mean God’s plan failed… IT IS GOD’S PLAN for my life. Suffering will enable me to know Him more deeply and appreciate His grace more fully. (1 Peter 4:12-13) I choose to reckon on / stand on this truth today!
- When I suffer it is not just something for me to endure and bear. My suffering belongs to God. He is the origin, and it is an instrument in His hands, for His purpose, and He will use my suffering to comfort others, and fill them with hope. (Rom 5:3-5)