Genesis 1: 12 (NKJV) But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew….
Our culture is centered on the idea of personal comfort. Even extreme sports and high profile athletes are infected with this virus, for while they may be willing to sacrifice long hours in the gym or in practice the vast majority make these sacrifices for self-centered reasons. “Me first” is endemic to our society. Jesus, on the other hand, calls us to “give up our lives for His sake and the gospels…” The New Testament is filled with examples, encouragements and outright commands to sacrifice our personal comforts and gains for the sake of others, especially when our sacrifice truly costs us and results in zero personal, net gain. There is, however, a spiritual truth in the concept of sacrifice and suffering that many people miss. The history of Israel is an example of this truth as is the rise of the Christian faith in the first few hundred years of church history. When we suffer, when we are under persecution, when we face hard times, we can also experience a cleansing that leads to phenomenal growth. While none of us enjoy difficulties, nor should we expect ourselves to desire suffering, we can learn to trust God through the dark times. He is working. Fantastic growth, which we might never have experienced without difficulties, may be the result of our trials. What we must do is make a choice, a choice to believe God has the story in hand. We can express our trust through prayer and most importantly gratitude, especially when the chips are down. We can do this because we can see how many times in history; great growth and deliverance were the result, in the end, of the tough experiences of the people of God