Saturday, December 06, 2008

Daily Digest #189

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. —Psalm 30:5

I just wanted to share this article with you (read below). May we never lose hope. May we grow a heart of patience. May we learn to endure and persevere, and focus on eternal goals. As we experience various trials, may we never fail to see our blessings, and thank God for them. Pray always.


February 16, 2007

"Grace must wound before it can heal." — Flannery O'Conner

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the problem of pain. One says: "Sometimes the going will get tough, and in those times you need to remember that your faith will get you through and something good will come out of hardship. Hang in there, this will soon be over." The other would be: "Get use to it. Pain, suffering, and hardship are necessary for growth. They will be constant companions to those who desire to know and love God deeply. Get ready for the long haul. If you're feeling good and life is relatively painless, that's the abnormal experience, not the norm. Enjoy it, but don't expect it."

These perspectives present what appears to be subtle differences, when, in fact, they have huge ramifications for the follower of Christ. One says that suffering is a glitch on the spiritual map, a storm one can weather, a malfunction easily corrected with a certain degree of patience and determination. This perspective believes that there exists a "normal" state for a believer that is relatively comfortable and risk-free. But in reality, this perspective is unbiblical and actually lines up more with a culture that treats discomfort as something we deserve to have alleviated. Multi-billion dollar industries are dedicated to creating and maintaining this myth, and convincing us all that the good life is attainable with, of course, the help of the product being touted. In other words, "normal" is just around the corner.

The other perspective is much more in keeping with reality and the belief that our real purposes go way beyond this life and this present darkness. It is a perspective that expects hardship and pain to be a part of the day-to-day program. If we are waiting for anything, we are waiting for eternity with Christ, not for everything to get better here on earth. We have learned that trials are such an integral part of our growing life in Christ that we even welcome trouble when it comes our way, because we know that by it, our faith is found worthy of being tested and our endurance will have a chance to grow (James 1:2-3).

This is not about being pessimistic. It's about being realistic and learning how to find joy in the midst of even the most difficult things. Getting "normal" right is half the battle.

"God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith. As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11 NLT)

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