“Here’s a real shocker. It wouldn’t have shocked Christians in other ages, but it sure catches us by surprise. God does not exist for us; we exist for God. In this human-centered age, we tend to measure God and his purpose by what we calculate as most beneficial for us. With this starting point, the whole horizon of sin, salvation, judgment, and damnation become reduced to our happiness. It’s not surprising that God’s wrath and everlasting judgment fall off the radar. After all, how can hell heal people? God may be disappointed that we haven’t followed his principles for a more fulfilling life, but what place is there for God’s wrath in a subjective and therapeutic worldview?
Coming at this from a biblical perspective, however, we have to accept the fact that God’s purposes are wider than our personal happiness. God is glorified in displaying his justice as well as his mercy (see Romans 9). Shakespeare was right when he said, “All the world’s a stage”–and it is God’s stage. Human history is an unfolding drama with God as the playwright and central character. Only believers have the assurance that God is working all things together for their salvation (Romans 8:28). For believers, this means that even suffering, demonic oppression, and sin cannot break the bond of God’s love (Romans 8:29-39). Conversely, for those who reject God’s forgiveness in Christ, even God’s common grace in sending prosperity becomes and opportunity for further hardening of one’s heart. Either way, God will be glorified. God’s purposes are larger than your personal happiness–or mine.”
–Michael S. Horton, A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering, p. 64