When someone recommends a book, I want to know if it has a good ending. Knowing it will end well helps me wade through the challenging parts of the story. Would it make a difference if you knew your pain had a purpose? What if you had an abiding assurance that you’re deeply loved and cared for in the midst of your suffering? What if you knew your pain was a necessary prerequisite for great gain? Would it help if you knew your story was going to have an amazing ending?
Photo by: Jessica Ruscello/UnsplashWhat if you knew your pain was a necessary prerequisite for great gain? Click To Tweet
I believe that is God’s view on the suffering He lets touch us. This life is a small splat on a long highway in comparison with eternity. God is preparing us for everlasting life; that perspective gives Him wisdom on what’s really best for us.
In the movie The Ultimate Gift, a wealthy man left a will dividing his massive estate among his spoiled family. Too late, he’d realized the luxurious life he’d provided his family had ruined them. His will stipulated a series of tests for his grandson. He’d hoped to salvage the shred of character he believed this young man had in spite of his indulged lifestyle. If the grandson passed the tests, he would inherit the bulk of the estate. Even better, he would receive the ultimate gift: the capacity to give and receive love, not stuff.
Similarly, God uses trials to carve out in us the capacity to hold His ultimate gifts. “Therefore we do not lose heart… For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Paul called his extensive suffering (listed in 2 Cor. 11:23-27) light and momentary because he focused on heaven. The sorrow of this life paled next to the eternal glory his suffering was producing for him. Paul understood God is not only preparing a place for us in Heaven—He is preparing us for our place in Heaven.God's not only preparing a place for us in Heaven—He's preparing us for our place in Heaven. Click To Tweet
Have you ever been unable to enjoy a fragrant garden because of allergies? Had no appetite for a sumptuous meal because of an upset stomach? Been too self-absorbed with your own cares to enjoy the people you love? You didn’t need better flowers, food, or friends; you needed to be freed from your personal limits so you could enjoy these gifts. God uses trials to free us from our limitations, to create the capacity to receive His good gifts, both now and for eternity.
Like Paul, with an eternal perspective, we’re able to endure irritations and suffering without losing heart. The Author of our story uses the trials of this life to chisel out Christlike character in us, equipping us to receive and enjoy His ultimate gifts.
Silver linings remind us the sun is shining behind the clouds. Remember to look for the silver lining.
(Excerpt from Give Yourself a Break)
Question: Does knowing how a movie will end help you through the tense scenes? How can God’s promises about our future help you with your challenges?
Click here to comment.
Most of us want to be close to God. But we aren’t sure how. Give Yourself a Break is a user friendly workbook that leads you to experience God in ten challenges common to all of us.
Give yourself a break from—
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Difficult People
- Renegade Thoughts
- Messy Emotions
- Spiritual Attacks
- The Pressure to Perform
Experience the simplicity of trusting Jesus. Isn’t it time you gave yourself a break and enjoyed God’s rest?
Sometimes I link up with these great sites:
#Moments of Hope, #Teaching What Is Good, #w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday, #Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Fresh Market Friday