Tullian Tchividjian begins Chapter 2 (“Suffering is Serious”) of Glorious Ruin by relating a personal story of his attempt to win over a colleague at a former job. Pastor Tchividjian took special care to learn that person’s interests and hobbies. He spent extra time buying that colleague a Christmas gift. Through these and other efforts, Tullian was convinced that if he said or did the right thing, then his colleague would like him. The author desired a world that he could control, the safety of “if-then” conditionality.
Pastor Tchividjian’s actions soon turned his emotions inward. He began to resent his colleague for disliking him and dreaded going to work. Finally, a co-worker told Tullian that the issue was what Tullian represented- the colleague had applied for the post the author had been given. Pastor Tchividjian summarizes the lessons learned from his experience:
“Suffering . . . often serves as an unwanted reminder that reality does not operate according to our preferences. Someone once observed that ‘in the beginning God created man in His image, and ever since, man has been trying to repay the favor.’ ”