He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
When we experience hardship, we need to remember that God’s purpose for our life is good, to make us like Christ (Romans 8:28). But God’s purpose usually requires some discomfort. C. S. Lewis described this process with the following analogy: “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on. . . . But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of. . . . You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
God’s purpose for your life will also be ultimately realized. There is a day coming when the renovation project is completed, and then you will be able to rejoice when you see the finished project in your life. Philippians 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The hammering will not stop until we see Christ face to face. Only when we are in His presence will we be able to look back and see how God caused all things in our earthly lives to work together for good.
There will be a time when we will rejoice. Peter said, “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:12-13). When we are in heaven, we will be able to look at everything we experienced and rejoice. That’s the promise of God.
Until that time, suffering will be beyond our comprehension. We cannot understand many of the things we are going through right now. We can’t answer for God. Remember Job’s experience. Job had three friends who tried to explain to him why certain things were happening to him. And finally in Job 42:7, God showed up and said to these three friends, basically, “You don’t have a clue about why I did what I did to my servant Job.” God doesn’t say why, but He says to Job and his friends, “Trust Me. I know what I am doing.” And that is what He says to us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Healing Words for Hurting Hearts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Quote from “Mere Christianity” in “The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics” (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 163.