Jonathan Edwards and Resolutions (57): A Good & Sovereign God
57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV)
Since the fall of Adam life is full of 'misfortunes and adversities' as Edwards describes. We know this because we experience this. We bring some of this type of suffering upon ourselves through poor decision-making. But there is a type of misfortune and adversity that is not the result of personal wrongdoing and that seems to be what is in view in this particular resolution.
We often times experience various sufferings that are not a result of personal sin. We live in a world that has been infected by sin and all of creation is groaning for the day that God in Christ makes all things definitively new (Romans 8 stuff). And with every suffering we experience at no fault of our own, we are presented with an opportunity. We can either try to manipulate our circumstance, grow embittered toward God and others, and despair OR we can, as the Apostle Peter advises, humble ourselves.
A part of being humble is acknowledging that you are the creature and God is the Creator. You are the clay. He is the potter. He has rights over the clay (Romans 9 stuff). As we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we are given the opportunity to cast our cares (some translations say 'anxieties') upon Him. We are given the opportunity to be reminded that He cares for us. We don't just serve a sovereign God, we serve a good God and He is doing good in our lives even when we can't discern it.
An old professor of mine used to counsel us students in the class to regularly draw two circles when we felt anxious- a large circle and a small circle. The large circle was to be titled 'entrust to God'. The smaller circle was titled 'my responsibility'. To this day, when I sense anxiety I draw those two circles. Lately what I write in the smaller circle are the words 'humble yourself'. Everything else goes into the 'entrust to God' circle.
I have way less control than I often like to admit. But in all honesty, it's a good thing because I have a good God that is in complete control.