Ministry, leadership, discipleship, the local church and the deep riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Few of us ever fully grasp that simple but painful biblical truth—the heat of suffering is a refiner’s fire, purifying the gold of godly character and wisdom. Wouldn’t we rather it be a simpler, more comfortable process? But we know life simply doesn’t play out that way. Everything worthy in this world comes at a price.
The Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn understood the fullest implications of that idea. The point was driven home for him during long years of solitude and suffering in prison, the price he paid for writing a few words of truth about his government. He knew something of disruptive moments and wrote, “It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. So bless you, prison, for having been in my life.”2
Can I say, “Bless you, prison,” about my deepest trials? Can you bless the prisons that loom in the bend of your road? It takes a deep spiritual wisdom to cultivate that ability—a profound faith that God loves us and that His purposes are truly right for us.