EditUnto you it is given… to suffer (Philippians 1:29).
God keeps a costly school. Many of its lessons are spelled out through tears. Richard Baxter said, “O God, I thank Thee for a bodily discipline of eight and fifty years”; and he is not the only man who has turned a trouble into triumph.
This school of our Heavenly Father will soon close for us; the term time is shortening every day. Let us not shrink from a hard lesson or wince under any rod of chastisement. The richer will be the crown, and the sweeter will be Heaven, if we endure cheerfully to the end and graduate in glory.
The finest china in the world is burned at least three times, some of it more than three times. Dresden china is always burned three times. Why does it go through that intense fire? Once ought to be enough; twice ought to be enough. No, three times are necessary to burn that china so that the gold and the crimson are brought out more beautiful and then fastened there to stay.
We are fashioned after the same principle in human life. Our trials are burned into us once, twice, thrice; and by God’s grace these beautiful colors are there and they are there to stay forever.
Earth’s fairest flowers grow not on sunny plain,
But where some vast upheaval rent in twain
The smiling land.
After the whirlwinds devastating blast,
After the molten fire and ashen pall,
God’s still small voice breathes healing over all.
From riven rocks and fern-clad chasms deep,
Flow living waters as from hearts that weep,
There in the afterglow soft dews distill
And angels tend God’s plants when night falls still,
And the Beloved passing by that way
Will gather lilies at the break of day
Ecclesiastes 7 15-18
15) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. (16) Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ? (17) Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? (18) It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
We need to realize that, if we do not understand a paradoxical situation in which we are involved and then handle it improperly, the quality of our relationship with God—and therefore the quality of our lives—may suffer. Such a circumstance is much more difficult to discern if one is personally involved.
The danger does not always have to be one involving a paradox. It can be any exceptionally difficult, personal trial, one that never seems to end. When involved in such a trial, we are not merely observing it but are deeply enmeshed in it.
Despite any seeming irregularities in the situation, we can be certain that the great purposes of God are being accomplished. But more direct involvement makes our choices and judgment more difficult and damaging because of our emotional ties to both God and the paradox. Therefore, because his faith is in God, the righteous person will wisely and humbly accept that the irregularities will pass, and all the vanities of this world will also pass with them. The wise will patiently endure the irregularities of this world as a momentary glitch in comparison to eternity. He can do this if he fully understands some important factors a person might fear.
Thus, wisdom says, “This is a situation I cannot truly change. I will not let this seeming injustice dominate my life because more is going on here than meets my eye.” He will ask himself, “Is there anything I can do to help my judgment so this doesn’t destroy my attitude and with it my faith and fear of God