Thursday, June 9, 2016

Protection Versus Perfection

Last Sunday, I heard a quote that I have since traced back to its source (I think).  The quote can be found in a book by Paul David Tripp, and it goes like this:  "God will not protect us from what He will perfect us through."  No offense to Tripp, but to me, the phrase makes more sense when worded this way:  "God will not protect us from what He uses to perfect us."  Same meaning, I believe, but the second way jumps out at me more and causes me to take note.

The Bible tells us over and over again that the Lord is our protector, our shield, our refuge, our hiding place, etc.  So why is it, then, that it seems we're so often under attack?  Why does He allow sickness to linger?  Why does He allow trials to come?  Why doesn't He protect us from the storms of life or the waves of the crashing sea?  I think the above phrase answers those questions, don't you?  If God chooses to not protect us from a particular thing, then we can rest in the hope that He is using that thing to perfect us. . .to make us more like Him.

I know what you may be thinking.  Some days we'd rather have the protection than the perfection, right?  We'd rather sit comfy in our haven of safety and enjoy life rather than endure it.  That's the human way--swayed by our emotions and current circumstances, often losing sight of the big picture and ultimate goal.  Think of it like losing weight.  We say we want to lose weight and place ourselves on a strict diet plan.  But when we've had a rough day, we'd much rather choose the double cheeseburger over the salad, right?  So, what is it that keeps us strong and helps us to choose the healthier option over the one we really want at the moment?  The ultimate goal.  The big picture.  The motivation to lose weight and get healthy.  If we don't lose sight of those things, we'll accomplish what we set out to do.

The same is true in our spiritual walk.  When we're going through hard times, instead of complaining to God about not protecting us, how about we try to keep in mind the end goal which is to be like Christ.  We all want that, right?  It's easy to admit it on the good days, but it's time we hold fast to that truth on the bad days too.  Not only will it give us the motivation to make it through, but it will also encourage us to praise God in the storm.  What a privilege to know that He is molding and making us in His own image, that He loves us enough to take the time to make us perfect and complete in Him.  Yes, He's a good, good Father!

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. - James 1:2-4

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