Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
This past weekend I was privileged to co-host our Regional Biblical Counseling Conference, Bearing One Another's Burdens Biblically. We brought together numerous pastors and teachers from across the country for the sole purpose of helping one another be better equipped in supporting people who are shouldering burdens, both large and small.
As both an organizer and participant it was clear that this kind of a conference was badly needed. The goal for many of us is to get through life as unscathed and trouble free as possible, That is rarely God’s intention or plan for His children. Think of all of God we would miss without adversity, without hardship, and without persecution.
Our faith and trust in God grows deep in times of trial. The roots of our belief and understanding grow deep and strong into our hearts and create anchors that are immoveable. Some of the best times of spiritual growth take place when life's circumstances are at their worst. When times are toughest and our future seems uncertain, God becomes real.
Until we have cause to grab hold of all we have learned and put in our minds about God and His character it is all ethereal and unformed. There is little substance that we can wrap our arms around. But when those harsh waves of adversity crash into life we begin to experience God. We begin to “see” who He is and receive in ways that defy words the things God promises to us as we believe.
Without these things in life we would remain unpolished stones, our edges would remain jagged. Adversity brings change on some level. It brings us changes of the heart (the inner man) because we receive things that we don’t want, or we are denied things that we do want and we have to make a decision to respond righteously. This causes change as what we have learned in the abstract now must become real to us in application. When we make that transfer, change takes place.
God’s polishing tool of adversity brings us pain at times, literal, physical pain. Illness, disease, and suffering are all tools of the Almighty in shaping us into His image. He will stop at nothing to create in us what He has foreordained.
As we weather these storms together, let us support and assist one another out of love for Christ.