I fight with pride a lot.As I was telling a friend today: if you take a guy that is fairly smart, can put disparate concepts together, can talk well, and you make him a Christian, you get something very dangerous.He starts believing the press others say about him and begins to think he is much more mature than he actually is.This is me.My entire life people have set me apart for “something big for God.”Being able to understand and communicate even the deepest truths of God and His Word doesn’t equal maturity one bit.Seminary has certainly been showing me just how independent I try to be from God.
But nevertheless, something does resonate within me when I think about my place on the national/world stage.I feel like I’m being tailored by God for big, visible things out there in the world.I don’t know for sure what this means, and I’m fine with it not coming to pass, but I feel like I’m being prepared for a weight I could not bear apart from prior work by God.
But that’s not the point of this post.Now, like I said, I was grabbing coffee with that friend of mine – a friend who is quite visible on the national and international stage.But he’s been struggling with something recently that really struck me.He pointed out that no person ever used by God for really big things ever did it apart from great levels and displays of suffering.His problem was that he shirks from suffering while seeking comfort – the very thing that is antithetical to what he’s called to.I have a similar problem.
I’m only 22 and I feel like I haven’t suffered much.Some really dark family stuff, spiritual dark months of the soul, and severe emotional pains (loneliness and heartache, mainly), but really no classic forms of real suffering.Yet, in spite of this, God has given me a very developed theology of suffering and God’s Sovereignty within it.This terrifies me.I can not get away from this haunting sense deep in the recesses of my mind that severe trials lie ahead of me.So severe that God needs to prepare me now to survive the pains to come.
In one sense this reaffirms my desire to be well-known, influential, and in front of many people.On the other it sobers me, realizing (perhaps for the first time) what it means to “count the cost.”So perhaps all those that have been praising and building me up for big things in the future have actually been painting a target on my soul for the refining pains and trials of God.
So for those of you out there seeking renown, fame, and exposure.Know that if you really are doing it to God’s Glory, then no servant is greater than his Master, and you should expect nothing less than fulfilling in the body the sufferings of Christ, that His life might be seen through your death for your good and God’s Glory.