“Christ calls us to the cross because we’ll never become like Him apart from pain.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers
Too many times, when people come to a saving knowledge of Christ, they are under the misconception that because they are now Christians, life will be easy. I always say, if life were easy, and we had all the answers, we wouldn’t need Jesus.
Life is at times joyous and wonderful and fun. Life is also messy, and frustrating and painful.
Nobody likes pain. We all try to avoid it. But it is necessary sometimes. And experiencing that pain is like being in the refiner’s fire, heating us to unbearable temperatures so that we are soft and malleable and molded, by the Creator, into something amazing and beautiful and useful.
In the introduction of his book The Fire of Delayed Answers, Bob Sorge tells us that “the chronicles of the Israeli nation testify that in times of comparative comfort and blessing, the hearts of the people of Israel wandered into idolatry. Distress was necessary to turn their hearts back to God.”
Last week, I mentioned a period of our lives that I refer to as “the wilderness”. I felt like one of the children of Israel wandering around in the desert and wondered if God had left me there for 40 years to suffer. But I was also driven to my knees, crying out in desperation to a God I trusted and knew was there. In that time, I experienced a closeness to Him like never before. I believe that time was necessary to turn my heart back to God and to go deeper with Him.
Was it painful? Yes. Was the reward of the comfort and closeness of the Lord worth it? Absolutely. Did He deliver us out of the wilderness? Yes, He did. But, not immediately and not without pain.
Sorge says, “Sometimes He delays His provision in order to try us by fire. The delay itself is a fire ordained by God to produce a deep work in our hearts. God has a design for our deliverance, but he also has a purpose for the fiery delay….His purpose in the delay is to strengthen our faith, kindle our love to new depths of passion and maturity, and impart the heart and character of Christ to us—all in order to make us a more useful vessel.”
God will provide for us and He will deliver us. He has a plan for that deliverance, but it will come at the right time—His time. Our pain is never wasted, just as the pain Jesus experienced on the cross was not wasted. His suffering brought us the most beautiful gift we could ever receive.
Our refinement is the way to get to know the heart of God, to become more like Jesus and to have a deeper relationship with Him. When that happens, we have more to pour out to Him and to the others who come into our lives.
“When our passion for God becomes the foremost fire in our lives, then the impacting of others’ lives becomes the inevitable outflow of that dynamic relationship with God.” ~Bob Sorge, The Fire of Delayed Answers
I want that.
I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!