“Ministry is not so much a career or a kind of episodic volunteerism; for every believer, it’s a lifestyle we’ve been called to. The problem is that we don’t naturally have the desire to make personal sacrifices for the sake of ministry to others and need training.”- Paul David Tripp
As Paul David Tripp concludes Chapter 12 of Suffering, he discusses the third and fourth reasons to hope in the middle of suffering.
3. Suffering prepares us for how God will use us. As God’s child, the author notes, you’ve been freed from the self-centered burden of living for yourself. Instead, suffering liberates you to live for God.
As a result, Pastor Tripp points out, God causes us to not only long for, but also experience His comfort. In turn, that readies us to be agents of His comfort in the lives of others. And, the author explains, “that means that our suffering has ministry in view.”
Therefore, suffering’s not meant to drive us inside ourselves. Rather, suffering must lead us out to offer others God’s hope, comfort, security, and joy. Finally, when God gives us stories to tell about how He met us in our darkest hour, we use those stories to point to God, not to us.
4. Suffering teaches us that this world is not our final home. When you live with a here-and-now mentality, you desire the most comfortable, predictable, pleasurable, successful, and enjoyable life possible. However, the Bible points us to our eternal home. Hardship pries open our hands and loosens our hearts from our tight grip on temporal things. For this present world will never be the paradise our hearts long for. The author concludes:
“What we suffer isn’t a failure of God’s plan but a tool to bring us in line with God’s plan so that we’ll love what he’s prepared for us more than we love our present comforts.”
Today’s question: Do you seen ministry as a career or as a lifestyle calling? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Reporting suffering or confessing the struggle”