Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The "So That" In Suffering

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6, 7 (emphasis added)
Suffering isn't designed by God to destroy our faith but to intensify it. That will never happen, however, if we fail to look beyond the pain to the purpose of our loving heavenly Father. His design is to knock out from underneath us every false prop so that we might rely wholly on him. His aim is to create in us such desperation that we have nowhere else to look but to his promises and abiding presence.

There is, then, an alternative to cratering under the weight of distress. We need not yield either to bitterness, because things haven't gone our way, or to doubt, because we can't figure out God's ways, or to anger, because we feel abandoned. Rather, we can by his grace strive to see the "so that" in his mysterious and providential mercies. And even when we can't see it, we can trust him anyway!

--Sam Storms, To the One Who Conquers: 50 Daily Meditations on the Seven Letters of Revelation 2-3, p. 60.
Amen and Amen, brother.
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 1:8, 9 (emphasis added)

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