Monday, April 25, 2011

Similarities between Athletes and Christians Part Deux

I received a comment from my last blog posting (Similarities between Athletes and Christians) that I wanted to share with you guys, as I felt the comment was quite appropriate. I also received a devotional a few days later that followed suite.

I know we have all learned a lot through pain. Some of you crazy athletes seem to even seek it out. Maybe that's not a bad idea, maybe it's not seeking it out but just welcoming it as an indicator. Whenever I think of pain and suffering I remember, "A Man for All Seasons and GK Chesterton."

When Richard Rich is trying to convince Thomas More that all men can be bought, obviously they have different ideas-
Thomas More: Buy a man with suffering?
Richard Rich: Impose suffering, and offer him escape
Thomas More: Oh… for a moment I thought you were being profound.

Seems odd to try and purchase a man with suffering. I'm not sure I would sign up for that. Profound that someone did just that. If we are true Christians and co-heirs we should welcome and share not only His glory but also His suffering. Of course, ours will be less then redemptive but that has already been taken care of. If we offer up and give all the glory to God then why not offer up the suffering to Him. I believe we are becoming better for it.

Life is a battle in which the best put their bodies in front, in which God sends only His holiest into the hall of the arrows of hell. In the book of Job is foreshadowed that better doctrine full of dark chivalry that he that bore the worst that men can suffer was the best that bore the form of man.
-GK Chesterton

Purpose-Driven Suffering, by Dwight Edwards

"But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

But He knows...when He has tried me…” There is nothing random about our lives. Every trial, every heartache, every teardrop has to pass inspection by the Sovereign of the universe. A Sovereign Who holds His scepter with nail-pierced hands. As Jeremiah puts, “For He does not afflict willingly (lit. “from His heart”) nor grieve the children of men” (Lam. 3:33). Though He does not afflict “willingly”, He does afflict certainly. And painfully. But it is purpose-driven suffering; with a perfect goal that is beyond what we are able to see many times. No - probably most of the time. C.S. Lewis puts it so well:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Elsewhere he writes, “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

How true! Left to myself I would settle for a cottage. Maybe you would to. Fortunately God does not leave any of us to our own insipid, pale, milk toast aspirations for spiritual growth. He takes us far beyond where we would ever choose to go on our own. And even though this taking is “that most brutal of teachers” and “hurts abominably” at times; it never hurts randomly. In some way, in some fashion, at some point; it always leads us to a spiritually wealthier place. And in my book, that is no small matter.

Flashpoint: Every trial in our life must pass inspection. And it cannot last a second longer than absolutely necessary.

1 comment:

RuthT said...

Interesting reading and some real thinking points here, but do share where you are in your training and running next time. Love you lots and lots, Mom