“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
James 1:2-4, NLT
There are many different points where our Lord connects to us through our desperation. Our sorrow and confusion can be how God ‘wires us’ for additional contact— in some kind of weird and cosmic way, my pain becomes His ‘copper wire.’ This often is how He touches my heart as He flows through it.
It is helpful to see our issues in this way. There is a current that must work through us, making contact and ultimately to create a circuit. What I mean by this is that it seems we have to experience pain, in order to know His presence. Only if you know that a brother has struggled, do you become aware that a tremendous wisdom (and love) is now accompanying him.
We must be aware that our distress allows us access to His ‘careful’ grace. Our trials, properly received, endow us with a special and supplemental power.
When it gets dark, any light becomes exceptional. In a book by Stephen Lawhead, (I think it was “the Silver Hand.”) we see a man, the hero take up stones which have been infused the creative power of the universe. Standing on the walls of a besieged stronghold, the desperate hero throws the stones down on the attackers. And as each stone smashes into the ground it releases a part of a song, which destroys the enemy, and defeats those strong in the darkness. (Silly story.)
His Spirit infuses into our hearts. He has imparted something in us that is both precious and powerful. He works through the pain and struggles that we encounter. These are terribly ugly, no question. But it is through these we plug into something real and eternal. I suppose when the tragic finally brings real life it’s a most precious thing. We treasure all this for it comes at such an exorbitant price.
Pain indeed has a purpose, but oh, so many times it seems to only hurt.
But yet, that is our calling. I certainly know that life is seldom easy and our choices are even harder. I recently read that Queen Victoria, as just a teen fiercely opposed her future coronation as the sovereign of England. She grew sullen, rebellious and would continually frustrate her teachers.
Only once when Victoria was shown a lineage that showed her and revealed her place in England’s future as queen. She became uncharacteristically quiet and she responded with an astonishing simple awareness, “I will be good.” From that moment everything changed for her.
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.