Over and over again, Heidi and I are reminded that the Christian life, on this side of the cross, is a life of suffering and trials. It is clearly how the LORD intends to sanctify His people. We cannot shrink back from this reality, especially given that our Savior suffered on our behalf. We join Him in His sufferings when we suffer.
This gives our sufferings meaning, but also helps us understand why it is that we do suffer. This truth is quite rejected by the larger evangelical community, given that so many refuse to hear solid preaching of God’s word. If they were more inclined, they would know these truths. Sadly, far too many are trying to use God as a means to an end. That end is not an end of holiness and obedience towards God, but to be rich, happy, and comfortable on this side of judgment. Yet, if we are to come to the Savior in a real way, we should expect many trials, toils, and snares.
J.C. Ryle, commenting on the Canaanite woman who begged Christ to heal her daughter, writes the following about affliction:
There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God, and intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing, but sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy, but adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ. Anything, anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin. Better a thousand times be afflicted, like the Canaanite mother, and like her flee to Christ, than live at ease, like the rich “fool,” and die at last without Christ and without hope.
Is your existence about the gaining of riches, wealth, comfort, and ease? If so, you will end up like the rich “fool” and die at last without Christ and without hope. The call of the gospel is before you.
Please note, Christ will indeed save you from your sins, and eternal damnation. But He will not do so in a way that keeps you from suffering in the same manner that He suffered. That is God’s chosen way to sanctify us. So if you are not willing to be sanctified through suffering, then please, turn from Christ, pursue the world and enjoy the little time you have before your judgment day arrives.