Development or Deliverance?

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Romans 8:17

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. Do we simply want God to deliver us from trials or do we desire Christ-like character? We should know that it is God’s plan to develop us spiritually before he delivers us physically. God’s goal in our lives: character development before physical deliverance. Do we choice maturity over and against a life of emotional and physical ease?

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience” (Rom. 5:3). However, suffering for suffering’s sake is not character transforming. It is faith in Christ and his finished work on the Cross which transforms. Our weaknesses, failures, and struggles are channels for his grace-enabling power when we trust Christ in our circumstances.

Do we want deliverance or development? Our choice: a life of relative ease without the presence of Christ or a life of seasonal character-transforming difficulties lived in the experiential love of Christ?

What are you seeking in your trouble today? Is it deliverance or development? You may have the one and not grow, or you may have both and grow. Get the development first and the deliverance will be yours, too. Let this servant minister to you in a way no other servant can. Take the positive attitude and use your trouble as one of the most skillful and wonderful instruments God ever placed into your hands for the working out of the character of Christ to be duplicated in you.

John Wright Follette (2009-07-15). Broken Bread – Enhanced Version