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Description: Trials are from God for our Good
Trials are From God for Our Good
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The verse we are studying is Ephesians 6:3 and we’ll start by looking at what we studied last time
in verse 2. Eph 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a
promise), that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
My feeling was that I needed to deal with the “live long on the earth” part. I remember my dear
grandmother’s favorite Psalm was 91, “with long life I will satisfy and show my salvation.” She was
“……that it may be well with you.” I remember reading some comment by some commentator who said,
“God’s will is for us to be well.” But in actual fact I think what he really should have said or
maybe did say was that it’s God’s will that things would go well with us. And it’s good to remember
that. God’s will is that our lives would go well. He wants them to go well. He wants them to make
sense. He wants them to achieve what he had in mind. And of course as a result of that we may well
live long on the earth.
But he wants our lives to go well. At times I get up in the middle of the night and write down the
revelations that God gives me and here is one of them. “I have brought you into life; I’m not going
to destroy you. (It was an exciting time that I was in the middle of.) I want your life to be good.
Whom he loves him he also chastens. Everything that you meet is tailored to fit you for Heaven. All
the inconveniences that seem to threaten your security and enjoyment of your private preferences,
every one of those things are tailored to fit you for Heaven.”
I would have said that the nice experiences, the good experiences and the revelations I’ve had were
all tailored to fit me for Heaven. But these wretched things that occur could not be. But God was
saying to me, “All the inconveniences that seem to threaten your security and enjoyment of your
private preferences….” And how often has that been the way? This or that has been a real
inconvenience – he or she is late, or this has happened to my car. That inconvenience is tailored to
fit you for Heaven.
“Those inconveniences that seem to threaten your security…” I will still calculate the dollars and
see where the problem is going to be. It’s so hard to get hold of the idea that even the things that
appear to affect our security are lovingly tailored by God to fit us for Heaven. And it’s long past
time when we stopped having fear and anxiety when something seems to affect our physical and
financial security. It’s long past time that we saw that that is specially tailored by God to fit
you for Heaven. And it will be clear in a moment or two as to how that comes about.
“…an enjoyment of your private preferences.” So often we are not getting the bicycle of our choice.
We’re not getting our preferences. We prefer to get a seat on this plane. We prefer to go at this
time. And immediately we go into thinking, “Why couldn’t I get that seat? Why couldn’t I get this
time?” And we go about working out how we can get this cross off our back.
God is saying, “Everything that you meet is tailored to fit you for Heaven. All the inconveniences
that seem to threaten your security and private preferences…” And then he explained, “all the things
that have happened to you are working together to conform you to the image of the Creator’s Son. All
your experiences are working together to make you like Jesus of Nazareth.”
When we resent those things we are resenting what God himself has planned for us. We are resenting
something that is going to make us very much at home in Heaven. It’s going to enable us to fit right
in to what God has for us in the infinite life ahead. “…All the things that happen to you are
working together to conform you to the image of the Creator’s Son. All your experiences are working
together to make you like Jesus of Nazareth.”
Then the next bit that explains in more detail….”Our Creator has foreknown and foreordained (and we
are reluctant to say that God has foreordained some of the things that happen to us). “Our Creator
has foreknown and foreordained (i.e. planned) in His Son the lives of billions of human beings and
their mutual effects on each other so that each of us can finally choose life in Him or death in
We think that we can’t control people and what they’ll do to us. We can’t, but there is One that not
only can but has and he has his hands still on them so that they cannot do what He will not do.
“Our Creator has foreknown and foreordained (i.e. planned) in His Son the lives of billions of human
beings and their mutual effects on each other so that each of us can finally choose life in Him or
death in nothingness.”
That’s the purpose of the whole set up. It is to preserve our freedom to choose and acquiesce in
what He wants. It’s all planned. Even though he foreordains, he has no intention of foreordaining in
such a way that we have nothing to say in it. He foreordains but finally there is that little bit
where we can choose to go this way or that way. And his aim is to encourage us to go this way.
He goes to infinite trouble so that each of us can finally choose life in Him or death in
nothingness — because outside of God there is nothingness. There is not even another evil life we
can engage in. There is just nothingness. If we choose nothingness it causes Him agony on Calvary so
that he is the one who cries out, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?”
“Outside time but inside eternity and himself, through His Son, God reconstructed our broken lives
and world and he expressed it on Calvary.” He has remade it all so that it doesn’t work out for our
harm but for our good. “Living daily in reality is living by faith that Christ’s Spirit is working
with the acquiescence of human will to reconcile inside you your attitude to him and outside you to
reconcile your circumstances to his will.”
So God is at work in us to do two things; to bring us more into his will and to affect the things
that we can touch and to bring them into his will for us. “Living daily in reality is living by
faith that Christ’s spirit is working with the acquiescence of human will to reconcile inside you
your attitude to his and outside you to reconcile your circumstances to his will.” That’s why the
only right attitude in every situation (both the good ones and the bad ones) is to acquiesce.
The dear lady (you’ll know who in a moment) often struck me as a shallow and superficial person. She
struck me as a little glib when she said what I am going to tell you. I was wrong and the lady is
Iris Moules. You may think that she was a very wise woman but I didn’t think that. I thought she was
a very dear girl and sincere about the Savior. But I didn’t think she was a deeply wise woman.
Iris and Len Moules has gone through many difficult times with their children and perhaps regretted
leaving them in the boarding schools while they were on the mission field. But Iris said something
that I didn’t catch at the time when I commented on these troubles with her children. She said, “One
can only rejoice!”
But Iris was right. “Rejoice when you enter into various trials knowing that it will bring forth the
steadfastness of your faith. And let steadfastness have its full effect.” Of course that’s right.
That’s all you can do because that’s the purpose of the trial. Rejoice when various trials come upon
you. Then read the rest — it strengthens your faith and encourages steadfastness.
“Living daily in reality is receiving from God, acquiescing in his will, and thanking him for what
has come. That’s why he says, “Give thanks in everything.” Always believe that everything comes from
God. He knows what’s happening even if he uses Pharaoh to bring it about. It’s God who is in charge.
The whole thing is part of his plan so you can rejoice.
When we get into our own selves, get depressed and preoccupied with the problem we are shutting God
out. We are ignoring the greater part of reality. We think this is real; this is the way it is. No
it’s not. It’s a narrow little imaginative hole that we think we are in. In reality we are in the
hands of our loving Father who has already planned the next steps for us. So it’s like being
momentarily in a dark corridor and saying, “Everything is closing down on me.” You don’t realize
that the corridor is about to open up into a beautiful hall full of light. Looking back you’ll often
say, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.” Of course it wasn’t bad at all if you stood back from
“The more I am the part of Christ that God wants me to be, the more I rest in peace and be of use to
him and others. Allow Christ’s Spirit to live his selfless, rightless (a life that does not claim
any rights), sinless self in me — those who the son has made free are free indeed.”
“Our persona (all that we are ourselves outside Christ) was crucified with Christ so that we might
be freed from our own self confidence and may no longer be enslaved to our self-existent life.
Regard yourself as dead to self existence and alive to God in Christ.”
It seemed to me that there was a lot of truth in this revelation that God gave me. I particularly
saw it in relationship to this habit we have of looking at things the way the world does. We say
this is a bad thing that is happening to me. Or this is a bad thing waiting to happen to me. No. Our
Father has very carefully designed every step of the way for each of us. This includes the step into
the muddy puddle. He has planned that and he has planned where your next step will be. And so you
can go into the muddy puddle and say, “Yippee! I’m singing in the rain.”
It is true that it’s God’s will that it would be well with us and that we would live long on the
earth. That’s what is happening every moment. God is saying to us, “You’re just looking through the
wrong glasses. I’ve seen it all and arranged it all. I’m not going to destroy you. I’ve given you
Let us pray.