Comfort in the Storm

"The painful things that come into our lives are not described by God as accidental or as out of his control. This would be no comfort. That God cannot stop a germ or a car or a bullet or a demon is not good news; it is not the news of the Bible. God can. And ten thousand times he does. But when he doesn't, he has his reasons. And in Christ Jesus they are all loving. We are taught this sovereignty so that we will drink it in till it saturates our bones. He is getting us ready to suffer without feeling unloved."

"So when suffering comes, God's children are meant to experience it as God's fatherly discipline. It does not speak well of our faith if we doubt his love or if we become angry at God when he ordains pain in our lives. The story of Ruth (along with Joseph and Job and Esther and others) is in the Bible to prepare us for bitter providences by showing us again and again that God is doing a thousand things that we do not know. And they are meant for our good..."

"That our pain has a loving and wise and all-powerful purpose behind it is better than any other view--weak God, cruel God, bumbling God, no God. To know that in his hands 'this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison' (2 Corinthians 4:17) is profoundly reassuring. And yes, 'light' and 'momentary' meant, in Paul's case, a lifetime of suffering. The excruciating 'lightness' of his suffering was light compared to the weight of glory. And the interminable 'momentariness' of his suffering was momentary compared to the eternality of glory."

-John Piper, A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race and the Sovereignty of God.