Some schools of Christian thought would say that the abundant life should be one where we are able to live without pain. Much confusion has come from such thinking, I believe, for pain is a great motivator and teacher. But we must all be wary of not becoming bitter in our pain, or tempted to despair. And how often we know of how hard it is to console others, and also ourselves, with God's incomparable truth when they are in the midst of the fire.
In my pain this week I have turned again to timeless words quoted in Streams in the Desert:
God often has to burn His lessons into the depths of our being by the fires of protracted pain.
Physical force is stored in the bowels of the earth, in the coal mines, which came from the fiery heat that burned up great forests in ancient ages; and so spiritual force is stored in the depths of our being, through the very pain which we cannot understand.
Like Joseph, let us be more careful to learn all the lessons in the school of sorrow than we are anxious for the hour of deliverance.(March 22/23)
I and we must trust that the fire of pain burning within will become a fire of passion and compassion which will give life and warmth to others in days to come. I and we must choose to lay down our need to know why things happen the way they do, and build upon our trust in God's mercy and grace, and His capacity to work all things together for good.
More than that, we must trust that, like Joseph, in whom were planted visions, dreams, prophecies, promises and great abilities, we may, through our suffering, come one day to "possess the land" promised to us by God. The very depths of our pain can build into us the capacity to fulfill all that God has called us to be and do, if we will embrace the way in which the lessons come.
All you can apprehend in the vision of faith is your own.Look as far as you can, for it is all yours. All that you long to be as a Christian, all that you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith. ..Accept for yourself all the promises of His Word, all the desires He awakens within you, all the possibilities of what you may be as a follower of Jesus. All the land you see is given to you.Streams in the Desert (March 26)