Going Through Hell to Get to Heaven

Is it just me, or did I miss the message that when I became a Christian, somehow everything was going to be “ok?”  No, actually not “ok;” better than ok.  That I would automatically experience the peace of God, joy of God, and purpose for my life?  That somehow the really hard parts in life, I would avoid because I made the right decision to say “yes” to Christ?

I’d heard all my young life that it’s important to have a solid foundation; a foundation of faith, a foundation that found itself rooted in the truth and reality of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Savior, and soon-coming King.

At least for me, life hasn’t worked out that way.  No one told me that, while I had the foundation of Christ as a gift, I had to build upon that foundation.  And just because I had the right foundation, it didn’t necessarily mean that I would even know how to build the right kind of life.

So today we talked about, not just pain, but God’s purpose in the pain.   Because I can endure anything if the purpose is big enough and the reward is great enough. We talked about how you really see yourself.  Is your life a cautionary tale?  Does it have an “under construction” sign over the top of it?  Or do you see your life as a quest to lay hold of the purposes for which God has laid hold of you?

So if you need endurance for your race, if you’re going through hell and you’re tempted to stop, today’s talk will not only help you see that God is with us in our pain, as a matter of fact, He has a purpose toward which that pain is heading. You’ll discover what it’s like to live in the land of the in between, of the not “yes” yet, and the stress and tension that comes between the trying and the coming true.

You’ll also gain an understanding of what kind of fire you’re feeling right now.  Is it a refiner’s fire, the fire of discipline that comes from The Father, or something else?

Anyone going through a painful time needs to understand that life is painful, that life with God is painful.  The difference is that the pain God allows and sometimes even sends our way is always wrapped in love, generosity, and pointed to a higher purpose.

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