Simply put, there is no way we could lead ourselves to the right place or the right position with God. This matter includes acquiring wise counsel. If we could work it all out, strategize it, and play it out like a game, we would be God — but we are not. God is God, and He states very clearly concerning wisdom that He has put eternity in man’s heart but so as that man cannot discover it.
But God is playing no games here. He is intent on having fellowship with His people, dwelling with them in His place and under His rule, and — most importantly — enjoying His Glory. Job learned this very well:
“‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me.’ I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee” (Job 42:3-5).
The design of the Lord regarding Job’s suffering was obviously deeper fellowship with God. The best gift God can give is this: Himself. And God is more committed to this matter than we are — and thankfully so.
Greg Harris taught me, providentially, that God indeed brought about suffering in our lives for good designs. In his book, The Cup and the Glory, there is one lesson after another about this road on which every Christian must travel. The chapter that stood out (and still does to me) is “The Road” to Troas. I remember sitting in Bible college at night being so comforted and counseled by God’s Word as Dr. Harris spoke of “The Road.”
The background to the “The Road” lesson is Acts 16 where Paul travels from Lystra to Troas for about 500 miles. Some of the terrain was mountainous, and every door was closed in his face. At the end of “The Road” we find the Philippian church planted. Here we have a man living for God’s glory, not his own. He is given no easy task, but a clear ministry where God promises to show him how much he must suffer for God’s sake. But the end of the road is glorious and joyful, to say the least.
Greg Harris says that this road is a road we all must figuratively go down, though “not alone, but alone with Jesus — so He can mold you, develop you, and accomplish His divine purpose.” God’s divine purpose or design is always good in the end; it is to show us something glorious, or better said, to put us back on the path of living for and by the glory of God. When we get there, we find ourselves willing to walk wherever we can to help others discover this glory as well. Glory is powerful — it turns people who are scared of suffering into people who are willing to suffer if it means knowing God better.