Portions from Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
While few of us would (or even should) have the courage to willingly choose sorrow, when we find ourselves in it, if we quieted our souls down - if we learned to float in it rather than thrash about like a drowning emotional victim - we might find . . . that it can be used to set us free. . . .
Anne Lindbergh Jr. - "I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable." . . .
If we live without an eternal perspective, earthly trials become larger than life. Without the hope of heaven or the sense of the importance of a growing character and refinement, there is nothing to prepare for, nothing to look forward to; it is like practicing and practicing, but never getting to actually play a game. Life gets boring, tedious, and tiresome. . . .
If we are seeking glory, honor, and immortality before God, daily and quiet persistence, faithfulness, and obedience is the road to get there. Anonymous sufferings are actually the best kind, Jesus tells us - otherwise, others might recognize us and compliment us and that alone, will be our reward (Matt 6:16-18). . . .
God never promises to remove all our trials this side of heaven - quite the contrary! - but he does promise that there is meaning in each one. Our character is being perfected, our faith is being built, our "heavenly reward" is being increased. . . .
Jesus never told use to erase our ambition. Jesus never said to shun all thought of rewards. He told us to turn from earthly ambition and to shun earthly rewards. . . . That's a trade, not a complete denial! That thirst for glory you feel in your heart is part of what makes you human - Jesus just wants us to focus it on heaven, looking for our rewards there. . . .
Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:17-18).