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There are many degrees and variations of this false teaching. Even those of us who realize this teaching is unbiblical can find ourselves guilty of similar errant thinking. We are often tempted to interpret "bad things" which happen to us as punishment for our sin and "good things" as gifts from God. While it's biblical and true that God disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:6) and "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17), we also must keep in the forefront of our minds the many Scriptures like our text today which reveal how God allows (even ordains) "bad things" to accomplish His unseen purposes even while working all things for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).

I love Paul Tripp's wisdom in New Morning Mercies:
"God’s care comes in a variety of packages. His care is not always a cool drink and a soft pillow. God’s care is not always relief from circumstances, release from trouble. There are many moments in our lives when the very thing that causes us to wonder about God’s care is his care. He knows that trouble will reveal our hearts or display his glory. Often trouble is a tool of care in the hands of the One who knows best what we need. He cares; therefore, make sure your definition of his care is not too narrow."

This perspective takes a great deal of Jesus-centered maturity and faith in God and His Word. Sure, in seasons of pain, frustration, disappointment, and loss we all may experience moments of questioning and doubt, but we know God provides grace to His children and sustains their faith!

As in our text about the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Jesus revealed to the disciples the painful journey in their future. But Jesus also tells them (13:20-22), "But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days" and "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

Christianity is a lifelong surrender to Jesus. Like Peter, the elect will be shielded by the prayers of Christ and the power of God (Luke 22:31–32). Those who truly surrender to Jesus will never abandon their calling nor shirk their responsibility by the power of the Holy Spirit to "guard the good deposit entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:14). God can be trusted! If you can trust Jesus for your eternal life then He can be trusted for your earthly life!

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