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March 10, 1995

Not without Permission (Part Two)

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The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” JOB 2:6
It might seem like a radical idea, but knowing that Satan must get God’s permission before he tempts or tries us in any way can be a great source of comfort to a believer who is in the midst of suffering. No matter what pain we bear, no matter how much we hurt, no matter how disappointed we are, no matter how misunderstood or maligned we are, absolutely nothing happens to us that does not first filter through God’s sovereign hands.
This concept can be rather jarring because it might not fit into our narrow concept of Who God is. It may force us to reexamine our entire theological framework and come to grips with the fact that the God we thought we were worshiping is far more incomprehensible than we imagined. As He declares through the prophet Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8 KJV).
The comfort lies in the understanding that God loves us and knows exactly what we can bear. As Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The amazing thing is that when we rely on Jesus for our strength, we can bear a lot more than we think. And if we see the trial through to the end, hanging on to God and His promises for dear life, our lives are usually much fuller, our communion with Christ much sweeter, and our influence on others much greater because of it.
How might the knowledge that everything that happens to you first filters through God’s hands affect how you view the trial you’re experiencing today?

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