#8.2 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Without Defects

Last time we looked at the fact that we are everything but perfect and flawless as we once were before sin. That we are constantly faced with under-performing, malfunctioning equipment. Some call it “The Human Condition.” But, we have also determined that God made a plan to ‘fix’ us, to make us whole again. And that plan is Jesus Christ.

So now to the Question:  What does suffering have to do with becoming perfect again?

Well, even though suffering is a ‘child’ of sin, it is also a catalyst for God’s purposes. In His sovereign wisdom it would seem that He has chosen to use suffering for His glory.

Lets look at it like this: Suffering is like a virus hacking into the files on our computers, messing with our internal systems, corrupting our files and destroying our coding. It’s a virus. One in fact, designed to destroy us, but ultimately allowed by God to help us…. But how is that possible?

Computer viruses, though made by hackers and other people with ill-intent, actually serve the purposes of development and innovation. When a new virus is made and begins infiltrating a computer system, the software community must work to fix it. And although the virus may have reeked havoc on the system, the software community is all the better for it, because the virus showed them the weaknesses in their system, the open back doors, the defects. And because the virus showed them where these defects are, they can fix them. In turn, their system becomes much stronger and much more effective and protected.

And it is exactly the same with us. Even though suffering (a virus) is brought on by our enemy, the devil (hackers) [see Job 1], and is designed to reek havoc on our lives (system), if responded to correctly, it can produce much good. If we see times of suffering as an opportunity to learn where we have open back doors and weaknesses in our system, we can actively work with God to fix them. So that once we have taken out the virus and closed all the open doors, we can be much more effective and protected, functioning on a stronger spiritual platform, and becoming more and more the person He has designed us to be….

Next time we will look at how we can work with God to fix the defects in our system revealed to us during times of suffering.

Father, thank you so much for who you are, and that you use things designed to destroy us for our good. What crazy logic. You really have a way of doing things that is so different, but effective. Teach us to trust you and to learn how you do things so that we can partner with you as a good friend would. 

#7 – The Wisdom of Suffering [James 1:1-18]: Lacking Nothing

…”that you may be fully developed, lacking nothing.”

I looked in my bible study booklet where I write about my insights into scripture and found the following written about lacking nothing: “Wow, if I could be lacking nothing I would be a happy man. I always seem to find myself falling short. I often lack the wisdom needed in situations…”

I think we all can agree that it would be absolutely awesome to never lack anything. To always have the wisdom needed for any situation. To never find yourself unable to handle something. To have it together and be wise in all your actions. Can you imagine that? What a world we would have if it was filled with such people.

From what James says, it would seem that it is possible. And from the ministry of Jesus it would seem that it is God’s desire to have such a world. A kingdom of priests and kings. Sons that always listen to their Heavenly Father and follow His ways. Men and woman that live by the divine life of God and act in complete obedience to Him. A world filled with little Christs.

Now, to become a little Christ (or Christian), one needs to be transformed into one. It doesn’t just happen. And we see in scripture that after the Father taught Jesus how to live a life of communion with Him, a life of wisdom and power, Jesus then taught others. This started the process of discipleship designed to teach and develop anyone willing, how to live in a wise, nothing lacking relationship with the Father.

Now, I guess the real question is: So how does suffering help the discipling process? I have drawn an insght from my little booklet. It comes just after my expression of lack, and says “Because of all the storms that have recently befallen me, I realised that I drastically lacked the needed wisdom to deal with them..”

And it is for that reason that the Lord uses suffering. To show us where we lack His wisdom and life. To give us perspective of ourselves. So that we are aware of the reality of our minds and hearts. So that the truth of our character is revealed to us. That empowers us with the knowledge we need to ask the Lord to give us what we lack and so be more transformed into the likeness of Christ.

In a sense, suffering is a gift. One designed to shine light into the dark areas of our character. Designed to expose the reality of our hearts, and in turn help us confront the reality of ourselves in relationship with Him. So that in the midst of the storm, as we cry out to God for for that which we lack, He graciously and lavishly gives us everything we need and transforms us bit by bit into the likeness of His Son, who is fully developed and complete, lacking nothing.

Father, thank you for your goodness and that you use every situation for our good and your glory. It is a mystery as to why suffering is such a good tool for the creation of sons, but it is true non the less. May you give us the insight we need to see suffering from your perspective and the courage to confront the realities of our characters in the midst of suffering. So that we too can be like Christ, lacking nothing.