For His Glory and Our Good
On April 19, 1865 Joshua Chamberlain wrote to his wife Fanny from Washington, D.C. He was attending the funeral service of President Ulysses S. Grant. Describing the setting Chamberlain wrote,
Today at my funeral service for the President-this field-the drooping flags-the dirges of the bands-the faces of the men-the words of the chaplain from his text-‘Give me the head of John the Baptist in a charger’! You should have been here. You of all, I missed. The chaplain is an Irishman, + the Celtic soul took fire today, you may be sure. I ordered this service on my own responsibility, as it is the day of the President’s funeral, + all duties of a military character are suspended. It will take a life time to tell you all I have to tell. These are terrible times , but I believe in God, + he will bring good at last...i
Chamberlain felt he was living in terrible times. The Civil War ended and America was in the reconstruction stage. Lincoln had been assassinated a year earlier and now the nation was mourning the death of their beloved President and General Ulysses S. Grant. Chamberlain witnessed the Sovereign hand of God at work at Gettysburg. He believed himself to be an instrument in the hands of God. From his experience he knew in his heart that God had all things under control. In the end the Lord would make everything right. C.H. Spurgeon said,
“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own??” -Matt. 20:15. “…There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them…”
It is hard for the human mind to embrace the fact that God ordains good and bad things to happen. The thought leaves us with questions we cannot fully answer this side of eternity. Chamberlain did not focus on perplexing questions about God’s will. He simply believed that in God’s timing, everything would turn for his glory and our good. Whatever you may be facing at this moment has potential to be used by God to bring clarity and blessings in your life.