Sanctification is the big Bible word for God’s training process. In other words—suffering. It produces godliness in His children who are exercised by it, but it does hurt.
Joyce and I grew up together in PA and went to the same Bible college. She and her husband are long-term missionaries in South America. They were involved in a car accident in December and have had difficulties with the insurance company. It took until May to get their car out of the shop. Now the other driver has brought a personal law suit against them, which the insurance co says they have to handle.
Add to this the stresses of ministry, need to renew visas, and health issues, all of which are pruning them. She wrote this to me:
"As I read your email it made me think of this old song...'He washed my eyes with tears that I might see the wonder of His love revealed in me!' And we probably thought we KNEW what that meant when we were teens.
We have read a good deal of material in recent years by Andrew Murray, Tozer, Moody, Torrey...so different than a lot of the 'Jesus is your good buddy, loving you, and just wanting you to be a really happy camper!'
It seems that so many are talking of the Lord's return these days--which is good, but it seems like more people are also getting the message, as you say—‘the bumps are to climb on.’ Becoming more like Him is not a quick, easy process...but it is so worth it to Know Him and the power of His resurrection!"
God’s purpose in sanctifying us is to draw us closer to Him. We pray more—committing our problems and needs to Him and then WAITING. And it makes what we read in His Word much more relevant and meaningful than when we aren’t experiencing hardships.
Our response to suffering can be either to shake our fist or bend our knee. Joyce is on bended knees. And I’m on mine praying for her and her family.