I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. ROMANS 8:18

God creates us free, free to be selfish, but He adds a mechanism that will penetrate our selfishness and wake us up to the presence of others in the world, and that mechanism is called suffering.

To put it in another way, pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Why must it be pain? Why can’t He wake us more gently, with violins or laughter? Because the dream from which we must be awakened is the dream that all is well. Now that is the most dangerous illusion of them all.

Self-sufficiency is the enemy of salvation. If you are self-sufficient, you have no need of God. If you have no need of God, you do not seek Him. If you do not seek Him, you will not find Him.

God loves us, so He makes us the gift of suffering. Through suffering, we release our hold on the toys of this world, and know our true good lies in another world. We’re like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men.

The blows of His chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect. The suffering in the world is not the failure of God’s love for us; it is that love in action. For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial, is no more than the shadowlands. Real life has not yet begun yet.

(Extracted from SHADOWLANDS, C. S. Lewis’ opening lecture scene in the 1989 play by William Nicholson)

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakening,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified)
From all that dims Thy Calvary
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod;
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God

This week, the “habit” of grace that we will consider is one that we might be apt to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Be praying for Kip Dochterman as he helps us look at how suffering is a means of grace, a gift of God to grow us and refine us, and bring us closer to Him.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:17

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