I recently met a gentleman for lunch and he told me a fascinating story. Let me share it with you. Croydon (not his real name), had the perfect life. Everything he had wanted to be as a child, he was. He had married his Bible College sweetheart. Their 19 years of fruitful marriage produced 3 handsome and healthy boys. He was ordained as a youth pastor, his dream job. Better yet, his young disciples were fervent for God, winning souls to Christ every single week. A great feeling of accomplishment washed over him every night as he said his prayers. What could be better? Life is good.
Then Comes Trials
And then it happened. The love of his life became the water in his blood. His wife found another man and decided to leave the house taking the children. Within days, he was served with divorce papers, and an eviction notice. His Pastor called and informed him that he could no longer serve as a youth pastor. He had to resign. As part of the bylaws of the church, a divorced man cannot serve in his position. So here he was, within days, reduced to being homeless, without his beloved family, and without his dream job.
People think that once you are in Christ, things will be smooth sailing henceforth. This is not true. Ask Job. Suffering is part of the human experience, part of the Christian journey. One to be embraced, as hard as it may be. Many people in this situation try to drink their sorrows into oblivion. But not Croydon, thank God. In his words “If I had gone that path, I won’t have come back”.
An Opportunity For Increased Capacity
God didn’t say, “if” you walk through the fire. He said “when” you do. It will happen. Expect trouble, trials and tribulations as a Christian. But isn’t it wonderful to hear God say to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world? In the long run, things will work themselves for your good because you love God and are called according to His purpose.
The two bandits, pain and suffering, produce the greatest internal growth spurt you will ever experience. When you come out of hard circumstances, and you will, you realize that your capacity for empathy, capacity to lay down your ego boundary to accommodate others is vastly increased
Good Always Wins in the Long Run
Croydon, has his 3 children back living with him today. He has his house back as well. Recently, he got called up to Co-Pastor a new Church plant. So yes, he has his dream job back. Croydon has now opened his home to accommodate international students, hoping to influence them for the better. His suffering has led to an increased capacity for him to influence many more people than he could ever have done.
Don’t actively seek pain and suffering just so you can feel religious or righteous. Yet don’t flee from them either. Face them head on. Don’t drink your pain away. Go through the full measure of pain for this will not kill you. You will emerge with an increased capacity to influence.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. – Isaiah 43:2
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