Man is born to trouble

Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. (Job 5:7)

NO SURPRISE. Sparks fly upward from a fire naturally, so human suffering is inevitable. God told us so in Genesis 3:17–19, so we should not be shocked at suffering. Modern Western people are more traumatized by it than others. We have too much faith in our technology and our democratic institutions, and we are conditioned by our secular, materialistic culture to seek most of our happiness in fragile things like good looks, wealth, and pleasure.

It is wise, however, to be ready for suffering. Often most of the painful emotions people experience during adversity are actually the shock and surprise that they are suffering at all. Even man Christians believe that God won't let really bad things happen to them. But Jesus himself disproves that. If God allowed a perfect man to suffer terribly for a greater, wonderful good, why should we think that might not happen to us? "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal . . . as though something strange were happening to you" (1 Peter 4:12).

How can you have fellowship with Jesus in your suffering?

Prayer: Lord, as I read about your life in the gospels, I see you experiencing pain and rejection on every page. Yet somehow I assume that I deserve a better life than you! My heart's foolishness is so deep when it comes to suffering. Make me ready for it. Amen.

—Timothy Keller, 'God's Wisdom for Navigating Life' pg. 76

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