When do I grow the most spiritually?

           Experiencing trial or temptation is never a “good time.”

            Certainly, there are other things more enjoyable in this life, but seldom more profitable spiritually. Someone might challenge that statement, or even want to issue me one of those funny little jackets with the sleeves that go in back, but it’s true.

            Consider 1 Peter 1:6 which says, “Where in ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” That word “rejoice” is the same word Jesus used in Matthew 5:12 in which he told the disciples to “rejoice” when people mistreated them.

            Guy N. Woods wrote, “Peter’s use of that term in the same connection as that which characterized our Lord’s use in that sermon is significant, being another indication… of the profound influence the Lord wrote upon that disciple by his teaching during his public ministry.”

            Why rejoice? Because the trials these people were embarking upon would be beneficial to them (2 Corinthians 4:17). Because the “manifold trials” bring about the “proofing” process. Put gold into a fire and it comes out pure. Put a child of God into the fire and he/she has the opportunity to come out purer and stronger spiritually.

             We must look at suffering as an opportunity to show the world that we are trying to be more like Jesus. Think of the Apostle Paul’s “thorn.” Why wasn’t it the will of Christ to remove it? 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 is the answer: For when Paul is weak, then he is strong. It is in weakness that people have the opportunity to see Jesus in us.

            When George Matheson wrote, “O love that wilt not let me go,” he said he composed the hymn on June 6, 1882 when he was 40 years old. Even though this occasion of his life was marked by the happiness of his sister’s wedding, something ― he would not say what ― caused him the most severe suffering.

            “The hymn was the fruit of that suffering,” Matheson said.

            For me, the final verse is the most moving, and instructive about why suffering is so necessary for us. It describes how suffering makes us more like the Master.

“O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.”

#spirituality, #suffering