Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trial By Fire

I’ve read enough stories of suffering to know this isn’t unique. In an interview regarding her documentary “Trial by Fire” Megan Smith-Harris said that if given the choice of having had the experience or not all the victims would still choose the experience. Not that they would choose the pain all over again but that the depth of character forged via the trial was worth it.

Joni Eareckson-Tada has said in her testimony that she would rather be in a wheelchair with Jesus than healthy without Him. God has developed in us some bizarre hard-wiring. On the surface we want the life of ease and comfort. Still the conviction expressed in every biography, every good story, is that suffering produces strength of character that doesn’t come from a life lived at leisure.

This truth is difficult for me. I want the big house, the huge garden, the Sunset magazine kitchen and the Bill Gates pocketbook. I am the first to cry to God when hit by hard times. I want my ducks in a row and when God moves them it bugs me. The knowledge that God uses trials to deepen my character and to grow Christ like attitudes in me makes me cringe. It’s the Romans 7 principle. I know what is best for me but my flesh wants to live in comfort and self protection.

I want my cake and Christ’s character. It’s all I can do to recognize the principle and cast my frustrations on God. Mentally I must acknowledge, reckon in the old English, that God’s best for me will come down paths I have no desire to walk. The battle is to always ‘reckon myself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Or as Peter puts it, “even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”

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