How does God shape our character? We hate the answer but we know it to be true: affliction.
If you say that God does not intend to use affliction, then what in your mind does he then use? Joy does wonderful things for our souls—it soothes, and strengthens, and heals. But joy does not transform people’s characters in the same way affliction does. You do not grow when life is good. Any parent knows this. The child wants ice cream and video games. But the child will grow to be a narcissist if they are allowed nothing but ice cream and video games. The most radiant holiness, the most genuine and glorious love is expressed by those whose lives have known affliction. Jesus best among them.
Our longing for life keeps confusing us about the purpose of life.
We ache for life to come together as it was meant to be. And it will, friends; it will. Very soon. But in the meantime, the purpose of life in this hour is not escaping to Hawaii, or whatever your version of happiness may be. Our “education” in this hour, the goal of our maturing is holiness, the beauty of Jesus Christ formed in us, which is something that requires a great deal of maturity to accept (you see how few accept it). By all that is holy and beautiful—clearly the purpose of life is not the removal of all affliction, or would we put ourselves above Jesus?
And that’s the Memo.
By John Eldredge from Moving Mountains