“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Job 1:9
This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of ancient times. But there are many in the present day about whom it might properly be asked—they love God after a fashion because He prospers them, but if things began to go badly, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. Some people, if they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion things have gone well with them, will love God in their poor, worldly way. But if these people must go through adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love of the cupboard, not of the master of the house. As for true Christians, they expect to have their reward in the next life and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words: “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit” . . . what? “He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2 NKJV). If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. “Oh, no!” you say. “That is a terrible prospect.” But this affliction works out such precious results that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations—because as those tribulations abound, so too will the consolation of Christ Jesus. Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod of discipline. Sooner or later, every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Don’t be afraid, but rejoice that such fruitful times are ahead for you. In these times you will be weaned from earth and made fit for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel, as regards the present, that you do serve God for nothing, you can then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
Suffering isn't what you would expect to learn from coming to Christ. But that is what Jesus says to expect. But before you consider that to be a negative thing...remember...that this is from God. We intentionally exercise and suffer through it to obtain a better result. We suffer through experiences with people and situations to obtain a result.
We are to be gold under fire. Impurities can only be brought up to the surface with sufficient heat. Not excessive heat but sufficient heat.
Silver is a good example. Specific time and specific heat are required or it isn't purified.
A friend of mine is going through a very very rough time in this life physically. He is indeed a Christian. No doubt about it.
Yet to look at his sufferings in this life you could get the impression that God has it out for him. That God doesn't care about him. He himself would tell you it's the exact opposite. Right now in this moment he is in a hospital. His body going through a great deal of pain. Has Jesus forsaken him? By no means. Is God giving him more than he can handle? God is giving him what he can handle....God is handling the rest.
We who are in Christ are His workmanship. We are being made to be fit for Heaven. Which implies we will not be fit for this world when He is done.
A tree is a marvel to behold that has lived a hundred years or more. That tree must endure suffering to become a house, a bowl, a spoon, a bed, anything that can be made from it. It endures being kiln dried or air dried. It endures the cutting and pruning process. It endures being made into lengths and various sizes of lumber. It endures being cut in pieces yet again. Then reassembled into something marvelous in the eyes of its earthly creator. It is no longer fit for the world from which it came and is now fit for the world in which it now is in.
We who are in Christ will endure suffering but we are promised never to endure it alone. We are to be like Jesus, like Paul even, to keep our eyes on that upward call in Christ. Time may feel like an eternity but eternity is outside of time. We will indeed suffer but we will indeed love what we will look like when Jesus is done.
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