Continued from here.
Let me assure you that “considering it pure joy” that I am facing a trial does not come naturally to me. In my flesh, I am one big baby with an even bigger chip on my shoulder when it comes to suffering.
When I was a teenager, I read the entire Bible cover to cover (ages 14-16). I sincerely valued having a relationship with God, but that relationship was immature. I did not believe it was immature because I was doing things that most of my peers were not, such as reading the entire Bible, being active in my church, and doing Bible studies. My faith was sincere, but it was very immature, as was evidenced to how I reacted when my father died unexpectedly six weeks before my 17th birthday.
One would expect that someone within a sincere interest in God would have turned to Him for comfort during this painful season, but I didn’t. I could not get away from God fast enough! I refused to go to church or Youth Group. I stopped reading the Bible. I cussed God out multiple times and otherwise denied His existence. My attitude was that if this was the way God was going to treat me after I just read the entire Bible, I wanted nothing to do with a God like that.
It took 11 years for God to woo me back. After He did, I learned I was infertile and went through 4-1/2 years of infertility treatments and the adoption process to become a mother. And then on the heels of that, I started having flashbacks from the severe childhood abuse I suffered.
I had one heck of a major attitude about all of this. Why did I have to be abused as a child AND lose my father (who was not one of my abusers) at age 16 AND be infertile AND have to take 4-1/2 years to become a parent through adoption AND have to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder … and, and, and? See what I mean about the big chip on my shoulder?
This is an example of an immature Christian’s view of suffering and perseverance. It doesn’t matter that I read through the entire Bible twice (second time was a re-commitment after the 11 years away from God), was active in Bible studies, and later led Bible studies through my church. While all of those were “good things,” they did not succeed in maturing me, much less making me complete.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace flipping over a table. Courtesy Bitmoji.]