Any time we find ourselves in difficulty or trial, it is easy to think we have been forgotten or rejected by God. This is because we do not understand the present process. God is not working for our comfort and ease; he is working on our growth. At the very moment we are tempted to question his faithfulness, he is fulfilling his redemptive promises to us. –Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp, How People Change
“God is not working for our comfort and ease; he is working on our growth.”
When I became a Christian I heard someone say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for for life.” Which is true. Only I thought his wonderful plan for my life was to continuously bless me with good things. Which is true. Except my definition of good things and God’s definition of good things are often different.
Gods wonderful plan for my life is to conform me to Christ, not give me everything I want. Sometimes being conformed to Christ is painful. Sometimes God conforms me to Christ by NOT giving me what I desire. Sometimes he conforms to Christ by sending people into my life who sin against me. Sometimes he uses pressure and suffering. He’s got all kinds of wonderful tools to chisel, chip, shape, sand and smooth.
God in his infinite wisdom knows exactly what we need to make us more like Jesus. Because Jesus was humble, God needs to bring things into our lives to humble us. Because Jesus was patient and forbearing with others, God brings people into our lives that require patience and forbearance. Because Jesus trusted God when mistreated by others God sometimes takes us through that challenge.
“At the very moment we are tempted to question his faithfulness, he is fulfilling his redemptive promises to us.”
If only we could always remember this. God is CONTINUALLY working to make us like his Son. Every single thing that happens to us is part of this plan for our lives. Nothing happens by accident. Every single thing is focused on this one goal of conforming us to the likeness of Christ.
And won’t it be worth it? When we get to heaven and see the glory of Jesus shining through each of us we’ll rejoice and thank God for every painful thing God did in our lives to produce Christ in us. Remember, our afflictions, in comparison with this wonderful goal, are momentary and light. If we take our eyes off this goal, they seem heavy and long.
So let us be like Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured the cross. Keep your eyes on the joy – seeing Jesus’ face and enjoying him forever completely conformed to his likeness.