A person’s view of God shapes his thinking in every area of life. Of course, this is true for each section of what theologians call Theology Proper, or the study of God, primarily His numerous attributes. But for the sake of brevity, I mention only a few specific attributes that often come to the forefront as we counsel one another: sovereignty, goodness, faithfulness and the “three omnis.” Fellow believers, especially those who are suffering, need the biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty over every affair of life, including when bad things happen to God’s people (Ps 139:16; Rom 8:28-30, the book of Job, the life of Joseph). Whatever the secondary cause of suffering, we must remind each other that God is truly in control and, therefore, is the principal cause who is absolutely trustworthy. Though He is not responsible for evil, God is sovereign over it—whether it comes through sin, Satan, or the natural consequences of the curse that God placed upon the created world in the Garden of Eden after the fall. Coupled with His sovereignty, we must draw one another’s attention to the goodness of God along with His love, mercy, and pity toward sinners, which was ultimately made manifest in Christ on the cross (Rom 5:8). The faithfulness of God compels us to trust Him, for He cannot lie, or do us wrong, and calls believers to a life of faithful obedience and holiness (Titus 1:2; 1 Pet 1:15ff). Whatever sin-related struggle we battle against, or suffering-related problem we face, God knows it (omniscience), is with us and will never forsake us (omnipresence), and has infinite power to intercede on our behalf according to His desires (omnipotence). This is the God who is constantly working within us for His good pleasure and glory (Phil 2:13).
There’s nothing that will build, or strengthen, a God-centered faith like a study of the attributes of God, which in turn will make us more effective as we counsel one another. Do not ignore this foundation stone of theology. Be sure to check out this excellent, new visual.