Responding or Reacting

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Rom. 5:3-5

We live in the midst of the fallout of the Fall: sin has affected every area of creation and all aspects of our lives. Disappointment, pain, and trouble are significant ingredients of our daily lives. Ill-timed, unexpected tragedies can shape our Christian lives for the better or make our hearts hard through bitterness. The choice is ours: better or bitter.

Teach me. O God, to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin. Let me use disappointment as material for patience: Let me use success as material for thankfulness: Let me use suspense as material for perseverance: Let me use danger as material for courage: Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering: Let me use praise as material for humility: Let me use pleasures as material for temperance: Let me use pains as material for endurance.

John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1949), 101.