Monday, August 18, 2014

Suffering: What God Wants vs. What He Knows We Need


I wonder if you wish that God were a genie in a bottle as much as I do sometimes, that He would give me what I want when I want it, so that my life would go just the way I desire.  But He isn't, and He doesn't.  He has a better purpose for my life than my ease and comfort.  As Randy Alcorn says in If God is Good:
We want deliverance from suffering.  We don't want our loved ones to die.  We don't want economic crises, job losses, car accidents, or cancer.  Our prayers and often our expectations boil down to this:  Jesus should make our lives go smoothly.  That's what we want in a Messiah. 
But it is not what God wants.  Jesus is not our personal assistant charged with granting our wishes.  While He sometimes does not give us what we want, He always gives us what we need. 
Only when we regard suffering servanthood as our calling, as Jesus did, will we have the ability to face it as He did:  "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart"  (Hebrews 12:3).  "To this [suffering] you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps"  (1 Peter 2:21).  (p. 443)
This is how I can say, "Losing my baby was better for me than having him," even though I don't understand why, cannot fathom why.  But God knows, and that's enough, again while tears pour from my eyes.

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