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AS JONI EARICKSON TADA PUTS IT… The message He wanted to get across was that sin kills; Hell is real, but God is merciful, His kingdom can change you, and I am your passport. And anytime people missed that and started to come to Jesus simply to get their situations fixed, the Savior backed away.

I think sometimes in our own culture of comfort, we so despise suffering. We love to erase it out of the dictionary. We want to give it Ibuprofen; we want to anesthetize it; we want to cure it; we want to divorce it; we want to institutionalize it; we want to surgically enhance it. We want to do everything—escape it, avoid it—but live with it. And yet, God’s choicest tool in honing our character and polishing off the rough edges and ripping out this root of selfishness that often stands in the way of our intimacy with the Savior is affliction. It is suffering. It is the very life circumstances that we find so abhorrent.

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