“If you become bitter over your hardships, you close some parts of your life from God.”(Experiencing God Day by Day Henry and Richard Blackaby p 27) And certainly many just close off their entire life to God. Increasingly people really expect that they should go through life with nary a bump, when that bump happens, they often shake their fist at God and berate and reject Him. “How could You let this happen?” They shriek.
“Some place in your soul can be reached only by suffering. The Spirit of God has important things to teach you, you can only learn these lessons in the midst of trials.”(Ibid) I’m not going to stake my theological reputation on this statement, however, it does seem that what we learn through trials/suffering/hardship, does stick with us, makes a more long lasting impact on what we do, then if life is just a breeze and we are handed everything. “Ok, I pick God, OK, now make me happy, healthy, wealthy, famous …” Just doesn’t work that way. Did God put us here just to hand us stuff and then bring us into eternal life in the resurrection? No, we’re here to grow, build character, integrity, follow Him as He makes us worthy of being with Him in the eternal life. That only comes through growth and growth only comes through trials and maturity.
“David spent years in suffering and heartache. When he finally ascended the throne, he was a man after God’s own heart.”(Ibid) Jesus certainly had reason to be bitter, through His incarnation, He was being put upon, pushed, threatened. But even on the cross He says “forgive them Father for they know not what they do”. Clearly bitterness turns us away from what Jesus wants for us, and leaves us to flounder around in our personal pity party. What’s worse we expect to drag others down with us in that pity party. I would submit that God uses the suffering and trials to make us complete. That if we resist what God is doing, sort of like not taking our math finals in high school, then we have not completed what God’s doing in us. If we somehow avoid or chose not to deal with some trial God intended for us do we become that person we should be in Jesus? I think a case could be made that we don’t. Do we want to be a lesser person in that eternal life in the resurrection with Christ? We should try to be as much as we can and trust that God is giving us the faith we need to follow Him while He is teaching us. Sure we don’t want to, but on the other end we become more in Him and less in the world. Shouldn’t we be doing that as we move to eternal life?