“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
J.D. Greear says joy is the overriding theme of Philippians. Joy is what maturing Christians and churches display. But how can this be the case when much of life produces the exact opposite emotion? James reminds us of this when he reflects on various trials in his life. James reminds us that tests produce something in us, namely perseverance.
How did Paul keep an eternal perspective when he was in prison? How did he keep his focus on the right things when he was being thrown out of city after city? Lost at sea and left for dead after being stoned by and angry mob...
Paul was totally consumed with Jesus after his salvation. Most of our Christian experience is cultural and superficial rather than authentic. But Paul who was stopped on the road to Damascus by Jesus himself was blinded by God's glory. He was changed by the power of the presence of Christ. Knocked down for three days with blindness Paul was never same. He was totally consumed with the Gospel.
Then there is this line in Acts 9 - "I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." Paul did not get the easy job. He did not get a lounge chair by the beach - rather he was assigned the difficult task of taking the Gospel into hostile regions. This is in total contrast to what we pursue every day. We want the comfortable job and the easy way out but God has other plans and he will not be stopped. Just ask Jonah.
May we be open to the gospel not resistant to it. May we allow the Lord to use us rather than close our hearts to the challenges a life of surrender will bring. Take heart that the struggles are light and momentary producing an eternal weight of glory we receive one day. (2 Cor. 4)
Ask yourself these 2 questions:
What is God teaching me through this struggle?
How is this struggle making me more like Jesus?
Pray this prayer:
Lord please refine me and make me more like you.