“Everything about which we are tempted to complain may be the very instrument whereby the Potter intends to shape His clay into the image of His Son–a headache, an insult, a long line at the check-out, someone’s rudeness or failure to say thank you, misunderstanding, disappointment, interruption. As Amy Carmichael said, ‘See in it a chance to die,’ meaning a chance to leave self behind”(Elisabeth Elliot).
The above quote is almost entirely opposite to a lot of current thinking within Christendom. Most of modern thinking is that God wants you to be happy and to flourish in this lifetime. Struggles mean that you’re doing something wrong and suffering is always something to be remedied rather than endured.
But Jesus said that in this world you will have trouble. You will have suffering. The Bible said if they mistreated Jesus, they will certainly mistreat you. It also says to rejoice when people persecute you on account of belonging to Jesus and being associated with the Name. Then you know you’re doing something right.
I’m not a masochist. I’d rather avoid any discomfort if at all possible. But I also know that growth and maturity come at a price — often a painful price — and if I fit so completely within the world’s way of living and thinking that I don’t cause a stir, then I’m blending in rather than reflecting who Jesus is.
I think we’ve lost what it means to die to self — instead of giving in to instant gratification all the time to deny your cravings and put others first. It’s not about being a passive doormat as it is to show disciplined strength. We’ve lost the idea of taking up our crosses daily and following Jesus.
Jesus endured the cross and all that went with it because He saw beyond to the joy that awaited. We can endure anything in the power of that cross because we know that this momentary season of suffering can’t begin to compare with the eternal weight of glory that’s coming. The victory will far surpass any losses we endure and the gain will far outweigh any losses.