We, too, forget the presence of a sovereign God and curse our situation and blame the people around us.... The tough neighbor, demanding boss, touchy relative, controlling friend, unthankful child, and the unexpected accident are all tools of sanctification in the hands of our Lord.... I tend to see them as signs that God has forgotten me rather than sure indications that he is near, carefully controlling things for my good. So I fret and complain instead of resting and worshipping. (War of Words, Paul David Tripp, p. 80)
I tend to see them as signs that God has forgotten me rather than sure indications that he is near... That's the part that really struck me, and I've found it to be a comfort as I meditate on it. I want to choose to believe that when I'm being squeezed by a person's harsh word or an unexpected circumstance, God is near. He has created that trial for me in order to change me, and instead of leaving me, He is ever close. He is near.
Then I was reading in Hebrews 12 the other morning and came to verses 5-6 & 11,
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.... Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
And there I was reminded that discipline and chastening, which are all part of my sanctification, are a demonstration to me that I am His daughter, that I ought not to despise it or become discouraged. It's going to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness in me. Peaceable fruit.
So the Hebrews passage took me back to Mr. Tripp's statement again. God is near, especially when I'm tested and tried, disciplined and chastened. He wouldn't leave me if He's in the process of changing me because then He wouldn't be sovereign. Rather, He's carefully controlling things for my good. (Tripp)