" If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and
it's not so bad."
I am currently re-reading Ann Voskamp’s book, “1000 Gifts”, and this quote from C.S. Lewis is in chapter three. Wow... I wondered why this quote didn’t hit me the first time I read the book? I believe it stood out to me this time because our family has been going through one of those seasons in life when you just keep thinking, “what is going to happen next? Why is this happening?” Life is just hard a lot of times. We all go through those times! When these struggles have come into my life it has been easy to question...why? Or, to question why God allows tough things to happen. When I think that way I have to admit that I am only focused on the here and now, as well as being focused on myself. This world is not all there is and if I fix my mind on things above, and fix my mind on the fact that this life is just preparation for heaven, then the bad times, rough times and sad times here on this earth will not be an opportunity for me to question God in his sovereignty, but to be pointed back to his goodness and his faithfulness.
But being human, I do question Him when I see suffering and situations that don't make sense. I feel like the father in Mark 9 who said to Jesus...”I believe, help me overcome my unbelief” ...I find myself asking that same thing. I want to believe….. fully. I don't want to be swayed by what my circumstances are here on this earth. But, at times, I am, and in those moments I know thankfully that God's grace is greater than my questioning. Tim Keller in his book Gospel in Life has a helpful list of what religion looks like in the life of a believer compared to what the Gospel looks like. Below is one of several comparisons that Keller made between religion and the gospel, and this one specifically deals with how we handle our circumstances, and often, the tough situations in life:
- Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
- Gospel: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know my punishment fell on Jesus and that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.
The apostle Paul talked about how God taught him how to deal with circumstances in Philippians….
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I pray that Jesus is seen in my life and through my circumstances!