In my reading lately, I have run across a common theme time and again. Difficulties in our lives are viewed differently when we claim Christ as our Lord. They are not something to be feared and avoided. They should be seen as a time to draw closer to God.
“Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Suffering and difficulties are the means by which we mature.
A child who is given everything, but is never required to work or wait for what they receive, will undoubtedly become spoiled. Their character will be selfish, greedy and demanding. The same is true of us adults. When life is always easy and we get all we think we want, we begin to falsely believe that we are deserving and entitled. We think we are powerful, brilliant, successful. And then our spiritual life becomes shallow – or non-existent. When we truly desire a relationship with God, then He begins to shape our character. He brings physical difficulties to whittle away our pride and our self. Yes, it hurts when He uses that sharp knife to shape us. Yet, if we persevere, maturity comes. Our dependence on God grows and the spoiled child within us changes into a loving, giving, grateful child of God.
“Perseverance must finish its work.” James 1:4 — Let it do its work in you.
“If only we would believe that we’re in-process and underway and willingly consent to be made. If only we would submit fully to our Maker’s hands as the clay submits to the potter.” David Roper, Growing Slowly Wise
“It is quite useless knocking at the door of heaven for earthly comfort. It’s not the sort of comfort they supply there.” C. S. Lewis
Brennan Manning Blessing:
May all your expectations be frustrated;
May all your plans be thwarted;
May all your desires be withered into nothingness…
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the compassion of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit.