The self-help industry is thriving. We are told “you can do it!” “if you believe you can, then you can” and “I have the power.” It is important to have a healthy view of who you are, but it’s also important for us to realize who we are in Christ and that it’s only on him that we can truly find who we are and strength to face our struggles.
In the Beyond Suffering Bible Joni Eareckson Tada shares how a struggle with pain revealed who she truly is and her need for a strong, loving and forgiving Savior.
One day during a long flight home, I could not get comfortable in the airline seat. My corset was digging into me, and no matter what Ken did, my blood pressure continued to spike, and my forehead kept sweating (signs that I am in pain). Normally, it would have been enough to drive me to pray. But not this time. I was fed up with my disability (a nice way of saying I was fed up with God’s control of the situation). My thoughts were sour, and I was not about to pull my Bible out of my backpack. Instead, I tried to get my mind off my pain by watching the in-flight movie. Halfway through, I thought, This is the stupidest film. Why am I watching it?
That night after the pain subsided, my first thought was, That wasn’t like me. I’m normally not like that. But the whisper of the Holy Spirit replied, “That is you. You are like that.” Suffering always tests us, examining and sifting us and asking, “Who are you really?” Normally, we are not faced all the time with how self-focused we are, or how sour and peevish our attitude can be. We think we’re doing pretty well. But suffering strips off that veneer and shows us our true colors.
Affliction does not teach you about yourself from a textbook; it teaches you from experience. It will always show you what you love – either the God of all comfort, or the comfort that can become your god. Think back on the last time you got fed up with your circumstances. What might this reveal about yourself? Talk to God about that today.
Lord Jesus, I may not like affliction in my life, but I am keenly aware that it constantly shows me who I really am. Thank you for covering every sin with your precious blood!
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