Paul Tripp in his book New Morning Mercies made a statement that caught my attention this morning: “If God intended for all the days of your life to be easy, they would be. No, in grace, he intends for your days to be his tools of refinement.” For someone who is struggling with terminal cancer, that is a mouthful. If I did not have cancer or have something hanging over my head, I would probably not pay attention to it as closely as I am today.
We all struggle with questions of God’s goodness in our lives. Tripp’s argument is basically this. Our definition of what a good God should give us is different than God’s. Our definition is no problems, comfort and NO suffering.
God’s agenda is different.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. The New International Version. (2011). (Jas 1:2–4). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. The New International Version. (2011). (1 Pe 1:6–7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 5:1–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. The New International Version. (2011). (Php 3:7–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Disappointment will come to me if I go by my definition of happiness of problem free living at all times. This is when we will have doubts and wonder if God actually loves us. For a believer in Jesus Christ, God’s agenda is different. It is sometimes painful but it is totally different than our way of thinking. Tripp concludes his devotional with this statement. “God is after something better–your holiness, that is, the final completion of his redemptive work in you.”
Chew on this for a while. It is a tough pill to swallow. I still struggle with my diagnosis of cancer. I want to be Christ honoring in the midst of trials and tribulations. These scriptures help me to focus upwardly.
Blessings on you in your own journey. Please share with me what God is doing in your life.