This is the fourth post on this topic.
“When trials and temptations crowd into your life, don’t resent them…welcome them as friends!” How can such difficulties possibly be for our good? And if they are for our good, does our God keep adding more adversity, more difficulty to our lives?
And if He does that, how can I see Him as good?
Does our God clog our living with additional problems? No. He does not need to do that, for a sin-bent world is replete with problems for us. Does He ignore our difficulties and adversity? No. He meets us in them and walks with us through them, giving us strength, insight, and dependence upon Himself in the midst of them. Does He deliver us from problems? Sometimes, because He loves us. More often, He delivers us through them, and in the process delivers us from ourselves. Because He loves us.
Here is a key point for us. Our point of view is critical to how we see these difficulties. If comfort and self-interest inform our perspective, if we are clinging to “safety” or “comfort” or “control,” difficulties are burdensome problems and our God is not to be trusted. If God’s glory and ascendancy over me is the highest good, then every difficulty becomes an opportunity for God to work in me and through me. To put to death that in me which is of the flesh, that which is not my true self in Christ. This so He can live more potently through me.
John Eldredge said it this way in his book, “Wild At Heart.” “Most of us have been misinterpreting life and what God is doing for a long time. “I think I’m just trying to get God to make my life work easier,” a client of mine confessed, but he could have been speaking for most of us. We’re asking the wrong questions. Most of us are asking, “God, why did you let this happen to me?” Or, “God, why won’t you just ________” (fill in the blank—help me succeed, get my kids to straighten out, fix my marriage—you know what you’ve been whining about). But to enter into a journey of initiation with God requires a new set of questions: What are you trying to teach me here? What issues in my heart are you trying to raise through this? What is it you want me to see? What are you asking me to let go of?”
The more we gain Christ and lose ourselves, the more joyful we are, and the more peace we experience. Joy and peace are not found in the absence of difficulty but in the presence of our Savior as ruler of the moment. Often we are too focused on abating as many problems as possible, having made the absence of problems equal to the presence of God’s blessings. Some of God’s richest blessings are found only in difficulty.