The theology of the Lord’s presence

By Dave Henning / January 1, 2019

“When we are facing hardship, it is vital that we preach to ourselves the theology of the presence of the Lord.  That theology doesn’t just define the nature of God’s commitment to us, it also defines who we are as children of God.”- Paul David Tripp

As Paul David Tripp continues Chapter 10 of Suffering, he reminds us that God wired us to get our identity vertically.  Because anything we look to horizontally never delivers the security of identity that we find in God’s grace and presence.  Thus, Pastor Tripp observes, we never find our hope in:

  • understanding why God allowed suffering in our lives
  • the belief that somehow we will tough our way through
  • doctors, lawyers, pastors, family, or friends
  • our resilience or ingenuity
  • ideas or things

Therefore, even though we tend to look to all those things for temporary help, ultimately our hope rests on the Lord’s faithful and gracious presence with us.  And this is wonderfully comforting because Jesus is completely unlike us in every way.  He’s limitless in power, possesses authority over everything, is perfect in every way, and dwells with us.  Most noteworthy, Jesus assures us that He’s never leaving!

In conclusion, Pastor Tripp observes, life changes in either little moments or dramatic moments.  Yet, we have little power to stop those changes from happening.  Also, we have no ability to welcome only the good things into our lives while at the same time warding off the bad things.  However, as the author explains, we can do more than find ways to escape or survive.  Pastor Tripp writes:

“I want, in these moments, to help you do more than find ways to escape or survive.  I want to help you understand that these moments have the unique power to transform you.  In fact, I argue that moments of suffering are always transformational in some way. . . .  What you suffer will change you.  You will not rise out of tragedy the way you were before it overtook you.”

Today’s question: How does the Lord’s presence reinforce God’s commitment to you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “God’s unbuttoned you, gotten inside you”

About the author

Dave Henning

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