July 10, 2016

The Shepherd's Corner

THE SHEPHERD’S CORNER

Stephen Arterburn, a Christian author and counselor, shares that suffering has taught him deep lessons of faith. You see, for seven years he and his wife prayed for a child and they did all they could— medically speaking—but as he puts it, “nothing happened.” The outcome of it was disheartening—despair began to slip in.

But, then God took them into the “hidden valley”, where they were to encounter the unheard-of-possibilities. Through circumstances “only God could have arranged,” he says, they were able to adopt a daughter. He and his wife knew that this child is truly a gift from God because they saw that the circumstances surrounding the adoption were completely God-thing.

Please slowly digest his remark, “The authentic Christian life doesn’t . . . mean living free from struggle; instead, it deals head-on with the issue of pain. Rather than trying to avoid pain . . . we allow struggle to shape our hearts and our faith. We allow humility to draw us farther out of ourselves and closer to God. It is not an easy life, but it is a rich life, full of growth and tough moments that remind us of who we are and how far we have to go in our spiritual journey.”

We all have our own share of struggle, followed by endless prayer. Unbeknownst to us God uses this struggle to shape our heart and faith. We now have a new heart and a new faith. But equally unbeknownst to us, God also uses our prayer—persistent, mountain-climbing prayer—to shape our heart and faith.

Prayer is no longer a vehicle to get to our destination but rather the destination itself. We don’t say, “I ask You” as often as before; instead, we find ourselves saying, “I trust You” more and more.

Pastor Paul

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