catapult magazine

catapult magazine




Mar 18 2005
01:48 pm

I feel like I heard a sermon which touched on suffering recently, but I can’t find my notes on it. The takeaway I took from it was that Suffering produces character. At Annapolis we had a name for the things that didn’t make sense, but were difficult – Character Building. Jesus has an actual purpose in allowing us to suffer – to make us more like Him; indeed to perfect us.

The other takeaway from the sermon was that temptation is an offer to avoid the suffering, a shortcut. I often look for the shortcut, the convenient way out of the suffering … but by looking for and taking the shortcut I am actually giving in to temptation, which attempts to nullify the growth Christ is working into my life. Knowing this I notice myself looking for those shortcuts much more often than I did before. Now I can ask Christ to be my strength in weakness, because left to my own devices I notice that I always pick the shortcut instead of accepting the suffering. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

He always meets me when I specifically bring my suffering or weakness to Him. He doesn’t take away the suffering, He provides the grace to persist in it. That way I can give Him the glory for sustaining me, instead of claiming the glory for finding a way out.

From this perspective the verses about “Count it all joy when you fall into temptations” start to make more sense to me. The rejoicing is not manufactured by pasting a smile on one’s face and smiling at everything. It comes from asking God to give me His perspective on my current suffering. Then He shows me that because He loves me, He is growing me, and is making Himself known through me … now that’s something I can rejoice about! Not manufactured – God-given.

Jesus, change my attitude to one of gladness in boasting about my weaknesses, because my natural inclination is to hide my weaknesses and boast about my strength.

Grace and peace,
San Diego