Here's a link to a blog entry from Piper that was a big help for me this morning:
2 Stages of God’s Care for Us: Fettered and Freed
In this age, God rescues his people from some harm. Not all harm. That’s comforting to know, because otherwise we might conclude from our harm that he has forgotten us or rejected us.
So be encouraged by the simple reminder that in Acts 16:19-24 Paul and Silas were not delivered, but in verses 25-26 they were.
First, no deliverance:
“They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace.” (v. 19)
“The magistrates tore the garments off them.” (v. 22)
They “inflicted many blows upon them.” (v. 23)
The jailer “fastened their feet in the stocks.” (v. 24)
But then deliverance:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God...and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (v. 25-26)
God could have stepped in sooner. He didn’t. He has his reasons. He loves Paul and Silas.
Question for you: If you plot your life along this continuum, where are you? Are you in the stripped and beaten stage, or the unshackled, door-flung-open stage?
Both are God’s stages of care for you.
If you are in the fettered stage, don’t despair. Sing. Freedom is on the way. It is only a matter of time. Even if it comes through death.