I used to tell people that God knew I needed to have a great family. From my perspective, He knew I wasn’t one of those people who would be able to overcome bad circumstances in order to give my life to follow Him. I know that in reality that this is never possible apart from the will of the Father and His gracious provisions, still it seems that some people are better equipped to rise above the mire, to put their lives in His hands, and then to be used in mighty ways for His purposes. I didn’t think I was one of those people. It meant my testimony was never as captivating as some others’ might be, but still, I was grateful to have the relative comfort of my idyllic upbringing.
Yet, as I got older I began to realize that my assessment was only looking at half the equation. After all, God allows difficult situations for those of His children that He knows can “handle it” (or that more properly, will trust in Him to handle it.) Think about it. When you think about the heroes of the faith from both modern times and from biblical ones, they are heroes because in the midst of challenging circumstances, they persevered. God allowed them to experience pain knowing that as a result He would be more glorified. And that in glorifying Him, these individuals would accomplish what they had focused their life upon – making Christ look good. My relative comfortable circumstances was good for life on this Earth, but it was a poor investment in my eternal home.
Luke 6:22-23 demonstrates this clearly. We are to rejoice when we suffer for Christ, because just like those who have gone before, when we suffer well for Him, we receive eternal rewards. Pain, for the Christian then, is not punishment from a vengeful God, but a responsibility granted by a concerned Dad. He knows that at some point He must give His children the responsibility of spiritual adulthood, and He knows that the responsibility might cost us. However, He also knows that in the end, it’s worth it. He’s willing to grant us the privilege of earthly pain so that we may use as a means of attaining “spiritual promotions.”
Our challenge then, is to see pain in this way. That in doing so we realize that is a privilege to be counted worthy to suffer for Him.