To Stretch Us for Greater Growth

To Stretch Us for Greater Growth

Life Bible Study: Four Reasons Why Bad Things Happen to Good People #2

     To Stretch Us for Greater Growth

From the desk of Rev Zheng 16 June 2024

        There is a man in the bible who suffered more than others. He toiled hard and often went without sleep or food, cold and naked. He was imprisoned frequently and flogged severely. He suffered all kinds of danger when travelling. Yet he said,

        “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  (Ro 5: 3,4)

        This man is Paul, the missionary. Paul was saying that when pain is in God’s hands, it stretches us for greater growth.

        Firstly, when life comes apart, our inner quality and strength will be revealed. You will discover how humble you truly are, whether Christ and His Bride truly come first in your heart or whether your thoughts are truly led by God’s heart. Through suffering, God compels us to face our naked souls, and through the indwelling Spirit He stretches us upwards. Indeed, there is a path to progress in every valley of suffering for us.

        Secondly, when there is no pain, there is no pearl. Pearls are gems to God. The twelve gates of the new Jerusalem city are twelve pearls! (Rev 21:21) But pearl is also the product of pain. When a grain of sand slips into an oyster, a healing fluid will be secreted to cover it until the wound is healed and a pearl is formed. Like us, a pearl is conceived through irritation, born of adversity and refined by perseverance. God’s ultimate purpose is not just to deliver us from pain but for us to grow in His glory, the image of Jesus. (Ro 8: 28, 29)

        Lastly, however broken we are, God can remake us. Such supreme craftsmanship is evident in the pages of the Bible: the homeless Abraham in the land of Canaan, Joseph in the prison of Egypt, David in the relentless pursuit of Saul, Daniel in exile, lamenting Jeremiah, the dagger-pieced Mary at Calvary… But no matter how broken the clay vessels are, the divine Potter can forge an immense amount of courage and character in them more than we can imagine. However, the clay in the hands of the Potter must let Him work so as to become useful and beautiful again.

        Dear saints, where does our strength come from? “We boast in the hope of the glory of God.” (Ro 5:2) Salvation without hope is not salvation at all. When Jesus was on the cross, he saw himself seated at the right hand of God, and many were justified because of his death (Isa 53:11, Heb 12:2). What Jesus saw became his strength. Next time when you are in pain, remember, “Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude.” (1Peter 4:1)


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