Lenten Devotional: Friday, April 11

by Sally AsKew
April 11, 2014

In the late 1960s I was introduced to a devotional book My Utmost for His Highest by English author and minister Oswald Chambers.  It contained devotionals written between 1911and 1917 used as a part of training for ministers and church workers.  Through the ensuing years I have gone back to these devotionals at many different times.  One which has been so very meaningful to me is titled “The Discipline of Difficulty.” It is based on John 16:33b “In the world you have distress.  But be encouraged! I have conquered the world”

The following are some quotes from that devotional.

An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble.  It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different…. If you are a child of God, there certainly will be troubles to meet, but Jesus says do not be surprised when they come….God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome.  The strain is the strength.  If there is no strain there is no strength….If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength.  God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minutes.  The temptation is to face difficulties from a commonsense standpoint.

These are sometimes hard lessons for us to learn and put into practice.  I am reminded of a common saying: “no gain without pain.  We must learn to put our faith in God and to gain strength as we move from one trouble to another.  Sometimes our lives go along very smoothly, and we all but forget past troubles.  Then, again come troubles, and we have to muster our strength gained from past troubles to go forward.

God, grant us the wisdom to face our troubles and know that strength comes from struggle.  Amen.