At this year’s Desiring God Conference for Pastors, Eric Mason spoke on how God uses suffering for our own good and his own glory. It was one of my favorite presentations from the week. Here is a selection from the message:
“He prays, ‘…and may [our God] fulfill every resolve for good…’ (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Now this is interesting, because here is the anatomy of how God keeps us joyous. This idea of “fulfill” here means to complete or finish something that has already been started. God has passions and desires. Most of us want God to be aligned with our desires, but true joy does not come from that. That will only lead to depression. We must pray for God to align our desires with his.”
Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). When God allows you to go through these struggles for your joy, he’s fulfilling every good resolve that’s based on his understanding of affliction. Suffering must come in order that the passions of God might be worked in us.
Paul ends his prayer with a purpose clause: “so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you…” (2 Thessalonians 1:12). Paul is telling the Thessalonians that the purpose of this trial is that the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them. God rigs our souls as mirrors and he uses trials to rub the dirt off the mirrors so that we might shine his glory toward other people.
Listen to the whole thing HERE