Considering it joy

Are you going through a tough period?

I guess all of us have our own struggles, however ‘easy’ life may look like on the outside.

In this day and age, everyone wants to have a ‘good life’. We look enviously upon those seem to have it easy, and often try our best to avoid suffering, which is natural and totally a part of human nature.

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Sometimes the skies are grey and misty

Even for those who of us who are Christians, we eagerly rejoice in ‘blessings‘, and some circles even call it the reflection, the fruits, of a victorious Christian life. I think many times they could not be more wrong.

For the only certainty we have been called to as Christians, is suffering. James 1:2 says “Consider it all joy, … when (not ifyou meet trials of various kinds”.

John Piper’s devotional “The Great King’s Wine” reminds us that the really deep lessons of life come not in times of ease and comfort, but through trials and tribulation.

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.(Hebrews 4:15)

I have never heard anyone say, “The really deep lessons of my life have come through times of ease and comfort.” But I have heard strong saints say, “Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him, has come through suffering.”

This is a sobering biblical truth. For example: “For [Christ’s] sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paraphrase: No pain, no gain.

Suffering is never easy, and it is okay to cry out to God in our affliction as the Psalmist did. We can rant to him, and He meets us in our pain. It is natural to try to avoid suffering, but when God deems it fit to allow affliction in our lives, we can be sure that when we perservere through it, He is glorified.

Samuel Rutherford said that when he was cast into the cellars of affliction, he remembered that the great King always kept his wine there. Charles Spurgeon said, “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”

Do you not love your beloved more when you feel some strange pain that makes you think you have cancer? We are strange creatures indeed. If we have health and peace and time to love, it is a thin and hasty thing. But if we are dying, love is a deep, slow river of inexpressible joy, and we can scarcely endure to give it up.

The truth of this hit me quite hard. In good times, we take so much for granted. But when we hit difficult times in life, what truly matters becomes so much more obvious. What we should really treasure is then writ large and magnified manifold. It is then we see God’s hand guiding us, His Spirit upholding us as we faint and falter in our faith, and true brothers and sisters walking alongside us.

I hope this encourages you today.

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