Proverbs 15:3 ESV
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Surveillance is a fact of modern life. You might be in London and China, where cameras watch your every move; you might be on eBay or Netflix, where your information is (probably) fodder for the highest bidder (as alleged by the on-going class action against Oracle); you might be engaging in some form of electronic communication, where the American government is recording you and needs only the flimsiest of pretexts to actually look at the recordings. Men and their computers are watching you, analyzing you, and using that data for their own purposes. Amidst all of this, it would be easy to feel discouraged. After all, it’s not like men and computers are the only ones watching you. Peter warns us that the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). With all these entities watching us, uncaring or malicious, courage can be hard. The enemy is watching, after all, and the enemy is so much easier to see than our Father.
This proverb, though, is a message of hope to us. God watches; God knows; God heeds our plight. We are not the sparrow, though its fall is known, and we are not the flower, though its color is seen. We, if by His grace we believe in Him, are His people. Nor is His watch merely that of an observer, the Deist’s god who sets the mechanism in motion and lets it self-perpetuate. That would be a meager deity indeed. Our God works His will on the earth.
God has promised His election that for them, “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). Note the nature of this promise. God does not promise us ease and luxury. God does not lie to man and give him assurance of an easy path. No, Christ brought not peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34), and we, who wield the sword of His word (Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16), will labor hard in so doing. Battle is a difficult endeavor, and we will find ourselves oft mired amidst blood and sweat, toil and tears. The world hates Him, and it hates those whom He loves (Matt. 10:22). God does not promise His people ease. Indeed, if there are any who God promises a time of ease to, it is the wicked whom He abandons into their sin (Rom. 1:24). For them, the beginning at least of this abandon will seem pleasant. Its end, though, is the way of death (Prov. 7:27).
If the promise of Romans 8:28 is not of ‘ease’, then what is it? God promises His people that His work is for their good. ‘Good’ can hurt. When a toddler is chastised for slapping his sister over who gets the red blanket, that chastisement is for his good. When we on this earth suffer, when we labor in toil and tears, when we hurt for the depths of our own sin and our own departures from righteousness, that suffering is for our good. Pottery does not become fit for a thousand years except by the heat of the fire; gold does not lose its dross except by melting. For some, He grants the mercy of passing quickly into His presence (Phil. 1:21); for others, He grants the mercy, painful as it is, of a life long and troubled.
Through all of this, though, God is with us. Not only is He with us, He is guiding, protecting, and aiding us. His angels, the host of them, are our protectors (2 Kings 6:16). His hand encompasses us (Luke 13:34). His eye us always upon us, to be with us in our troubles and bring them brighter through them. He is the Messiah, sent to “comfort those who mourn”, to “proclaim liberty to the captive” (Is. 61:1-2). To do so, He must be with those who mourn, He must stand beside the one who is captive. Our God is not distant of immanent, near us at all times, and He knows our deepest sorrows, for He became a man as we are, for He intercedes for us even now, as Paul instructs us a mere two verses before the great assurance of Romans 8:28 (John 1:14; Phil. 2:8; Romans 8:26).
Nor should we think that God brings us merely pain. No, God brings joy great and everlasting (Is. 61:7). What greater joy is there than the surety of His lovingkindness (Ps. 136)? Though we mourn by the waters of Babylon (Ps. 137), yet He promises that even in the deepest darkness He protects our souls (Ps. 23). In the end, all our present suffering will be as nothing compared to the immeasurable joy of our everlasting dwelling before Him. That is the good news which is for man, the reflection of the Gospel’s glory-to-God upon us.
Written by Colson Potter.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.