“These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with; yet the wisdom of God does order them for my good.”
~John Bunyan (1628-1688)
Oh, that the mercies of God are never failing is a paradox of plummeting significance. The 17th Century pastor, and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, was found, like us no doubt, to be chastened by seven abominations within his heart.
He was given to unbelief, to forget frequently the love and mercy that Christ has manifested, had predilections toward works of the law, was found cold and wandering in prayer, forgot to watch for the answers to his prayers, was given to complaint, and was plagued by evil though he meant, sincerely, to do good.
These “abominations” we can readily claim a stake in. We, too, are known for these things; they cling with incredible magnetism to our broken human nature. This should be a bad thing—we depress ourselves with our disappointment.
But God created us in such a way as to chase those very things back to Divine Residence.
The LORD’S Purpose In These Abominations
Oh Divine Good. It is wherefore we see, as Bunyan did, that those very abominations: drive us to abhor ourselves devoid of God; keep us from trusting our own hearts; convince us of the insufficiency of concepts of inherent righteousness (within human beings); show us the necessity of fleeing to Jesus; press us further into praying fervently before the Lord; show us, all the more, why we need to be watchful, alert, remaining sober; and, provoke us to look to God, through Christ, to help us, and carry us through this world.
For seven abominations there are seven blessed responses that the Spirit engages us to do—for our benefit. Those same plaguing tendencies for cursing are the very reason we are thrown headlong into blessing.
Oh Divine Good. It takes us into our sinfulness, showing us for what we are, and then it turns us toward home, unto blessedness; every evil action has a corresponding Divine reaction. Our Shepherd uses the abominations to encircle his sheep.
Divine Answer Is The Only Answer
The world without God runs away from itself. It sins and doesn’t know why, or doesn’t care, or shuns knowledge; any distraction will do.
The human conundrum is a riddle without answer, barring the Lord. Our nature is enigmatic and we can’t work it out without God. Our sin is a mystery to us that we can’t unravel devoid of the Almighty.
As is explained by the process of Bunyan, above, God gives us trials of the heart, abominations to our pride and self-sufficiency, in order that those very things will drive us back to Divine Good.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.