Timothy Keller begins Chapter 14 (“Praying”) of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering with the statement that we must come to grips with the Old Testament book of Job in order to understand what the Bible tells us about suffering. Pastor Keller points out that the dialogue between Satan and God that opens the book of Job shows that there was a need for Job’s love of God to be refined.
The author notes that “there is a difference between external religiosity and internal heart love and devotion to God.” To some degree that gap is present in all of us, resulting in a lack of intimacy, peace, and joy with God.
How, then, can we grow in our love for God so that God becomes increasingly satisfying in Himself, so that His love enriches and nourishes us regardless of life’s circumstances? Pastor Keller states that the primary way growth occurs is to have hardship come into our lives. Suffering provides an opportunity for us to focus on God in ways we’ve never done before. As a senior devil wryly observes about Christians in C. S. Lewis’ satirical work The Screwtape Letters:
“If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.”
Today’s question: How has your love for God been refined during your desert, transition time? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Look who’s talking!”