22 July 2009

Where Are You Running To?

We spend a good amount of time running from pain and suffering don't we? In fact, most of our time is spent escaping pain and pursuing pleasure instead. John Piper clarifies our problem when we run from the very thing that God provides for us to draw closer to him: The design of Paul's sufferings was to make radically clear for his soul, and for ours, that God and God alone is the only treasure who lasts. When everything in life is stripped away except God, and we trust him more because of it, this is gain, and he is glorified.

Christians waste their lives trying to escape the cost of love. They do not see that it is worth it. There is more of God's glory to be seen and savored through suffering through self-serving escape. Paul puts it like this: "though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). "Momentary" refers to a lifetime in comparison with eternity. "Slight" refers to suffering and death compared to the weight of everlasting joy in the presence of God. This is what we gain if we hold fast to Christ. This is what we waste if we don't.

God designs that tribulations intensify our hope for the glory of God..."more than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope" (Romans 5:3-4)...And God, in love, will use whatever trials are necessary to intensify our savoring of his glory. From Don't Waste Your Life, pages 73-74.)

What are you running from? Sickness, personality conflicts at work or church, marital conflicts, dealing with a rebellious child, dealing with your own sin? Don't run, embrace the problem and work through it to see how it will draw you to see and embrace God's glory.

No comments: