Purpose in Suffering
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."1
Jeris E. Bragan wrote about an old violin maker who chose the wood for his instruments from the north side of the trees because this was the side that faced the fiercest windstorms. When the storms raged the trees groaned under the lashings but this is what gave them their strength. As the violin maker said, "They are simply learning to be violins."
In younger days I had a home that I built myself at the top of the hills overlooking the beautiful city of Adelaide in South Australia. Most Adelaidians didn't like to live up there because of the fierce winds that often blow. But the view of the city and the ocean beyond was magnificent. However, when I was landscaping our property, the nursery man told me it was better to get very small trees and if I stake them at all, be sure to stake them very loosely. Allow them to bend and go with the wind because this makes them develop a strong root system. When the trees grew and the winds raged, we lost a few branches but we never lost any trees.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God …
Like the trees of the forest,
may I find nourishment
in rain as well as sunshine,
bend with the winds of misfortune
give of myself to others
to provide shade from the blistering heat,
grow old gracefully and not
become rigid or unbending;
and above all
may I keep reaching ever upwards
towards heaven and to God.
– Dick Innes
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Romans 5:3-4 (NIV).
NOTE: The above poem by Dick, “Reaching Upwards,” beautifully produced and ready for framing, is available online, on sale, at: http://tinyurl.com/reaching-up.