Strength of Character

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What a week!  I’ve struggled with many issues – some old, some new, some psychological, some physical, but all spiritual.  God is about making us into the people He desires us to be. Like most Americans, I like comfort and feel happiness is what I’m meant to have.  I get to pursue it in freedom and am so thankful for our great nation.

However…I believe God is getting me ready for another place and time.  I liken this existence to boot camp – training for the real thing just around the corner.  As C.S. Lewis described, I believe we are living in the shadowlands and someday we’ll move on to reality.  I’m looking forward to that day.

 I bet Helen Keller felt much the same.  You must admit for the first part of her life, she had to be completely confused with what it was all about.  Then, when she finally was able to communicate, her world opened up and she could explain some of what she understood existence to be:

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.-Helen Keller

I haven’t begun to struggle in the way Helen struggled.  I can’t imagine the “shadowlands” she endured, but I do wholeheartedly agree that suffering has its place.  I want to have my soul strengthened.  I will give praise to my Lord for He is doing marvelous things.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labour of the olive may fail, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon my high places.        Hab.3:17-19

Have you come to understand the need for suffering in your life?

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18 responses »

  1. It also gives us those gray hairs! lol

    Great post. This says what I wish I could say to Questor, maybe ill point him to it. 😛

  2. “As C.S. Lewis described, I believe we are living in the shadowlands and someday we’ll move on to reality. I’m looking forward to that day.”

    I think you have the right focus. When we think this is all there is we start going the wrong direction.

  3. Another beautiful post, my dear! I have learned to view things differently, having had the challenges in life that I have had. There are certainly degrees to everyone’s trials. I think it has made me a better person, quite frankly, I can’t imagine a sanitized, perfect life…at least not in this lifetime. Helen Keller must have been one of the most remarkable people to have walked the face of this earth, and to have the gracious attitude to inspire others, is almost unfathomable. We should all have such fortitude, not saying I do, I am glad I can lean on the Big Guy, no matter how big or small my problem. We could all use a little character to pull us through. Your faith is always inspiring.

  4. Suffering makes me more aware of my weakness and my need for Christ, it is necessary and so hard!!

  5. Thank you, all, such words bring me encouragement. I know I’m not alone – we all have our personal struggles.

    “In this world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus

  6. That is a great question! I still wish to be in a place where I welcome the trials and tests, but I don’t. I do embrace them better than I used to, knowing that it is that trial that will bring me into a deeper understanding of my God. I know that as long as I have trials in my life the Lord still sees places in my heart that need to be polished or cleaned out. I know that I won’t be complete until I am face to face with my Jesus. What a fabulous thought!!!

  7. Dana:
    Thanks for commenting, I love your site. 😉

    I remember the first time I publicly thanked God for suffering. Afterwards, a couple of people came up to me and said they had never been able to do that. It appeared to be a totally new concept to them. I have experienced too much suffering, if I were not thankful for it then my attitude would be bitter or cynical – and bitterness is a trap I can fall into easily.

    “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

  8. Thank you for the reminder that there is something better waiting on the other side of the storm
    Gothique

  9. Wow Michelle, this is the post yet. I am wondering if our blog had an effect on you? Perhaps you could write a post on the need for suffering in a Christian’s life for our blog? The way I understand it is that Christ suffered, so if we are going to be a Christian, we are going to suffer. That’s the way it goes. Christ died on the cross for us. We should expect the same for ourselves, ultimately.

  10. I meant to say this is the best post yet. It is very clear and concise and well written.

  11. Thanks, Artistic! I used to fight against suffering, it didn’t “fit” in the “happy Christian life” I was told we were to experience. After dealing with much depression and chronic illness, and knowing I was a Christian, I started seeing the truth about what Jesus taught. As stated above, “In this world you will have trouble but do not be afraid, I have overcome the world.” Life’s hard…I get that now.

    Thanks for the encouraging words. 😉

  12. THANKS I AM EMBARRASED TO DISCUSS BEING A CHRISTIAN AND BEING DEPRESSED
    I GUESS MY FEATHERS ARE WATER LOGGED CAUSE JUST SEEMS LIKE I CANT LET THINGS AND HURT JUST ROLL OFF RIGHT NOW

  13. Belinda, He will meet you where you are. He knows your hurt more than you understand it yourself. Cry out to Him and hold on tight. When I am in a very dark place, I turn to the Psalms. He sings His word to me and restores my soul…

  14. Yes Psalms will help, a lot of them seem to have been written when the author (david) was in a dark place crying out for God…they communicate that pain and that wonderful hope and the unbelievably good future we have waiting for us amazingly well.
    G

  15. As they say, we are like a clay that must be molded to be shaped, and fired to become strong. Both processes sure hurt, but we need them to become better persons.

    Have a good day, Michelle!

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