An Assigned Portion

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  • As we near the end of another year we may take heart, remembering the psalmist’s words, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure” (Psalm 16:5, NIV). 

    Nothing brings greater security and quietness to the soul than the assurance that in everything “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This is the indestructible foundation of our faith. No matter how monstrous an evil may have been perpetrated against us, both by intention and act (think of Joseph’s brothers’ treatment of him!) it is mysteriously transformable into great good by Him who is Lord of the Universe and my Redeemer. It took Joseph’s suffering to accomplish God’s will for Israel. The sufferer himself became the redeemer for his father and his hateful brothers. They meant it for evil. God meant it for good. 

    The portion assigned to me each day is precisely measured by God, not only for my good (although it may appear quite the contrary) but also—let me not forget—for the good of all the others whose portions He is allotting. We are not solitary individuals, but the children of a family, cherished and tenderly cared for by a perfect Father. He has all of us in mind. 

    My cup may have a bitter taste. Shall I suppose, then, that my Father either has had nothing to do with choosing my portion, or that He is not dealing with me in mercy and grace? Such thoughts are from our ancient foe who seeks to work us woe! It is the Lover of Souls who hands me the cup of suffering, giving me the priceless privilege of learning a fellowship with Him which can be learned in no other way. 

    The words of a chapel speaker when I was a student at Wheaton College have rung in my mind for fifty-two years: “If your life is broken when given to Jesus, it may be because pieces will feed a multitude, when a loaf would satisfy only a little lad.” 

    What Sir Thomas Brown wrote in the seventeenth century I can attest to in the twentieth (and twentyfirst): “When I survey the occurrences of my life, and call into account the finger of God, I can perceive nothing but an abyss and mass of mercies.”

    **Excerpt originally published in the Nov/Dec 2000 Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter.