“Suffering is the intersection where life’s deepest pains meet with the most wonderful blessings of grace. . . . Suffering is where weakness intersects with strength, confusion intersects with wisdom, sorrow intersects with joy, and despair intersects with hope.”- Paul David Tripp
In Chapter 14 (“The Comfort of a Heart at Rest”), the final chapter of Suffering, Paul David Tripp reminds us what happens when we look for fulfillment horizontally rather than vertically. For when we look to earthly things to supply our hope, joy, and peace, suffering picks our pockets.
Hence, Pastor Tripp posits, that’s one reason why we find suffering so painful. Suffering totally wipes out all our subtle God replacements. Because suffering exposes the utter inability of those replacements to deliver what we’re asking for. Yet, it’s right in the midst of our darkest hours that God’s grace shines so brightly.
Most noteworthy, Pastor Tripp asserts, Habakkuk 3:17-19 beautifully captures how rest and peace of heart can exist in the middle of life’s unwanted, unthinkable, and unplanned hardships. Using agricultural examples, Habakkuk paints a scary picture of hardship and loss. But, in the middle of this horror, the prophet also speaks of joy and strength.
As a result, Pastor Tripp asks us to consider four hope-giving lessons the prophet embeds in that wonderful passage. He cover the first lesson today.
1. Suffering is not ultimate; God is. As Pastor Tripp stresses, nothing exists outside of God’s protective umbrella of wisdom, power, and authority. When you think about the hardest things you face, none last forever or are supreme. Also, no suffering lasts forever or is lord over your life. The author exhorts:
“This means that even in the deepest, darkest suffering, there’s hope and help to be found because God is bigger and more powerful than any awful thing we will ever face.”
Today’s question: How have you met God’s grace at the intersection of pain and blessing? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Taking on difficulty as our identity”