God has amazing timing! I just finished posting a blog, then dug into my emails and my eyes fell on this devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada. Many of you know her ministry, but it came by way of much suffering. I just had to share it since the message is so true and the timing . . . well, that’s God doing what He does best!
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. I Peter 1:6-7
Somewhere after my first decade in my wheelchair, I was gratified by the changes in my life. All things were working together for my good and God’s glory – it didn’t mean being an author or speaker; it meant being like Christ. Hardships were forcing me to make decisions about God – my faith was becoming more muscular. Suffering was doing a job on my character – I was able to stick to promises, not be sloppy in relationships, quit whining, and be more patient. My thoughts were being jerked right side up – I couldn’t reach for the common temptations like before (having no hands helped with that). Also…
Suffering was making me more sensitive to others – I couldn’t have cared less about people like me before my accident, but now it was a different story. Being paralyzed was making heaven come alive – not in a cop-out way, but in a way that made me want to live better here on earth because greater things were coming in the next life.
A checklist like this sounds dry and technical, but years ago, it helped answer – at least in part – that sticky question, “Why does God pile on hardships so high?” Well – hey! – God is more concerned with conforming us to the likeness of His Son than leaving us in our comfort zones. God is more interested in inward qualities than outward circumstances. Today, look for the “reasons” God has for your hardship. When you find them, you will “leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1).
Lord, you are the one who holds all the reasons in your hands. I can trust you with every reason!”