Taking on difficulty as our identity

By Dave Henning / January 17, 2019

“It’s easy and quite normal to take on our difficulty as our identity. . . .  whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend, or financial ruin, no hardship in this fallen world has the power to define you or determine your potential.”- Paul David Tripp

Paul David Tripp concludes Chapter 14 of Suffering as he discusses the second through fourth life-giving lessons embedded in Habakkuk 3:17-19.

2.  Difficulty doesn’t control your fate; God does.  When you’re going through hardship, Pastor Tripp observes, it feels like that hardship controls you.  However, only god controls and determines our future.  Any present help and future hope rests solely in God’s hands.  Pastor Tripp exhorts: “Salvation isn’t found in our ability to escape suffering, but in the presence and grace of the One who meets us in it.”

 3.  Hardship doesn’t define you; God does.  You restrict your hope and potential to the confines of your hardship when you take on suffering as your identity.  Rather, your relationship to God determines your power and potential.  And God’s promised to never forsake His children.

4.  What will truly satisfy and give rest to your heart cannot be taken away.  When your suffering gets too great to bear, there’s most beautiful and practical, helpful thing to grab hold of again and again.  As you come to understand it, it fundamentally transforms the way you suffer.  To come to know this is much more desirable and beautiful than living a life of suffering.  In fact, Pastor Tripp notes, this one thing isn’t a thing at all.  Instead, it’s a person – the Lord Jesus.  Thus, the author concludes:

“In your suffering he give you the best of gifts, the gift of himself.  To be in him and he in you is infinitely better than having an easy, predictable, trouble-free life.  And if hardship has been the tool that forges in you an unbreakable trust of him, then your hardship hasn’t been for naught.”

Today’s question: What Bible verses help us resist taking on difficulty as our identity?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Disrupting the rhythm of your heart”

About the author

Dave Henning

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