There are times when I want to bless people’s hearts in my heart. This may make me one of history’s greatest monsters. it happens almost every time I see someone in a bookstore who picks up a book of a certain genre. A book adorned with the author’s beautiful and award winning smile. The eyes have a mild look of crazy about them. And a promise is given, often of achieving your best life sometime in the not too distant future. Also, a Bible verse may or may not appear in the pages of said book.
This is when it happens. But I suppose it’s better than me slapping the book out of their hands, isn’t it? Maybe?
I wish people didn’t buy these books. I wish stores didn’t sell these books. And I wish more pastors spoke out against them. Why? Because these books don’t help us love Jesus more. They don’t tell us the truth. They tell us we’re to look forward to the good life now, when Jesus says, we should expect trials.
Maybe even persecution.
For “a disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
While we probably shouldn’t be seeking these things out, we should expect them to come eventually. After all, this is the sort of life we’ve been called to. And God will test “you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10). As Spurgeon once wrote,
“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bed-chamber, and in many ways it has also been written on our heart. It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God’s choice makes chosen men choice men.… We are chosen, not in the palace, but in the furnace. In the furnace, beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed; yet here eternal love reveals its secrets, and declares its choice. So has it been in our case.… Therefore, if today the furnace he heated seven times hotter, we will not dread it, for the glorious Son of God will walk with us amid the glowing coals.
That last line is what makes all the difference to me. It’s not enough to say that we’re chosen for a life such as this. It’s not enough to say that we should expect trials and difficulties. What makes us bear it—what makes us embrace it—is not knowing this. It’s knowing that Jesus—”the glorious Son of God”—is walking with us through it all.