"The sufferings of saints are ordered and disposed by the will of God" – John Bunyan

Granted, if I ran across a quote this long on another persons blog, I probably wouldn’t read the whole thing. But I couldn’t help but be amazed at how firmly John Bunyan affirmed the complete sovereignty of God over every aspect of suffering in a person’s life, especially upon considering  the fact the Mr. Bunyan spent over ten years in prison for preaching the gospel.

[N]o enemy can bring suffering upon a man when the will of God is otherwise, so no man can save himself out of their hands when God will deliver him up for his glory. It remaineth, then, that we be not much afraid of men, nor yet be foolishly bold; but that we wait upon our God in the way of righteousness, and the use of those means which his providence offereth to us for our safety; and that we conclude that our whole dispose, as to liberty or suffering, lieth in the will of God, and that we shall, or shall not suffer, even as it pleaseth him. For,

First, God has appointed who shall suffer. Suffering comes not by chance, or by the will of man, but by the will and appointment of God…

Second, As God has appointed who shall suffer, so he has appointed when they shall suffer for his truth in the world…

Third, As God has appointed who and when, so he has appointed where this, that, or the other good man shall suffer…

Fourth, As God has appointed who, when, and where, so he has also appointed what kind of sufferings this or that saint shall undergo, at this place and at such a time…

Doubtless our sufferings fall by the will of God unto us, as they fell of old upon the people of Jerusalem. It was appointed by God who of them should die of hunger, who with sword, who should go into captivity, and who should be eaten up of beasts (Jer 15:2,3). So is the case here, namely, as God has appointed who, when, where, and the like, so he has, also, what manner of sufferings this or that good man shall undergo for his name. Let it then be concluded, that hitherto it appears, that the sufferings of saints are ordered and disposed by the will of God. But,

Fifth, As all this is determined by the will of God, so it is also appointed for what truth this or that saint shall suffer this or that kind of affliction…

Sixth, As it is appointed who, when, where, what kind, and for what truth, by the will of God, this and that saint should suffer; so also it is appointed by whose hand this or that man shall suffer for this or that truth…

Seventh, As all these pass through the hand of God, and come not to us but by his will, so how as also long is really determined as any of them all. It is not in man, but God, to set the time how long the rod of the wicked shall rest upon the lot of the righteous…

I have, in a few words, handled this last, to show you that our sufferings are ordered and disposed by him, that you might always, when you come into trouble for his name, not stagger nor be at a loss, but be stayed, composed, and settled in your minds, and say, “The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14). I will also say unto you this by the way, that the will of God doth greatly work, even to order and dispose of the spirits of Christians, in order to willingness, disposedness, readiness, and resignation of ourselves to the mind of God.

– John Bunyan, Seasonable Counsel: or, Advice to Sufferers.

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