“Because I did not have the power or control to make Mr. Hardship leave, I ran to the place where I have always found wisdom, hope, and rest of heart. I ran to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in so doing, into the arms of my Savior.”- Paul David Tripp
In his Introduction to Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, Paul David Tripp describes suffering as a surprise visit by an unwelcome visitor. When suffering, aka Mr. Hardship, takes up residence, we want to evict this unwanted stranger. Yet, we cannot deny the presence of suffering. And, in Pastor Tripp’s case, he admits he spent way too much time trying to figure out:
- why Mr. Hardship knocked on his door
- why he’d chosen that particular moment
Sure, we know that Mr. Hardship is out there. Because we’ve heard how suffering enters other people’s doors. But, somehow we deceive ourselves. We think it won’t happen to us.
Most noteworthy, as Pastor Tripp dove into the message of the gospel, he arrived at a profoundly important and wonderfully comforting realization. He wasn’t as unprepared after all.
Of course, Pastor Tripp states, no one likes the travail of pain or loss. In Pastor Tripp’s suffering, though, a miraculous thing happened. Jesus used Mr. Hardship as a tool to produce good things in the author. Things that couldn’t be produced any other way.
In conclusion, Pastor Tripp explains his purpose for writing Suffering:
“I write so you too would feel loved, prepared, and thankful, no, not for the pain, but for the One who is there with you in your pain. He is the One who not only comforts you but produces beautiful things in you and through you out of what you didn’t invite into your life and don’t really want in your life and out of what doesn’t seem good at all.”
Today’s question: What Scriptures do you embrace when Mr. Hardship comes knocking? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The delusion of personal autonomy”