Theological Studies
  • Register

When my wife and I took in a young 18yo lady who was about to be homeless we decided to charge her rent...for her sake. She lived with us for about a year and a half, the whole time we charged rent but each time she made a payment, we put a little note on it, sometimes a verse, sometimes a prayer, and stuck it in a big envelope. Then when she decided to move out we gave it all back to her.


The fact is, we didn't want to charge her rent anymore than God wants you to go through suffering. But as James puts it, suffering equates to endurance. The reason my wife and I charged rent to this young lady was so that she would feel the pressure that produces endurance. The last thing we wanted was for her to try and go it in the real world only to find it was to much for her to handle. Our goal was to be an on-ramp that she might transition to the freeway of living on your own and get her up to speed before she had to merge.


What was fun is, she got both what she put in back, but she also got the character development needed to successfully live on her own and the experience managing bills. The fact is, my wife and I delighted to secretly store her money for her. Actually we often added funds, when she would borrow money and then pay us back, we'd often put that money in there too, or when she asked to order something online through our account and paid us back, we'd throw that money in there too. Our heart was never for her to pay us, but for her to be blessed. Wisdom said we would fail to prep her for the real world if she didn't feel the pressure, actually had we just given her everything for free it would have been worse, we would have spoiled her. I believe God, in His wisdom, knows perfectly how to raise His children (us) too.


Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-4

When you study people, you will find those with worldly glory (worldly wise, strong, noble, impressive) are often ensnared in those things (Mat. 19:23), but those with suffering are led to God (Ecc. 7:2-3). Watch the wealth in our nation and you will see it surround those who are not close to God. Those aren't the only traps. Men of strength and women of beauty often are ensnared within narcissism. The religious are no exception, nobody got more woe's in scripture than the religiously successful (Mat. 5:20, Mat. 23:13-36). It's not that wealth, strength, or beauty are bad things, but like with the Rich Young Ruler who had all of those (Mat. 19:16-26) can get in the way.


For consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the insignificant things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no human may boast before God. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Similarly Jesus prayed:


“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well pleasing in Your sight. - Matthew 11:25b-26

I appreciate that James said "consider it joy...when you encounter various trials" and not "feel joy", suffering is miserable and lasts, at most, a lifetime, but what it produces is eternal, and lasts in us forever. It's okay if you're not feeling it. It says to call it joy because it's a thing worth rejoicing over. I guarantee you, when you look back in 1000 years on what it produced in your life, you won't stop thanking God for it. If suffering didn't produce eternal results then it would not be a cause for joy.


So many of us feel like the Jewish man in Fiddler on the Roof, when Perchik said to him "Money is the world's curse", Tevye replied "May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover." A good laugh for sure, yet if you read Proverbs you will find a completely different prayer, one given in wisdom.


Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
So that I will not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And that I will not become impoverished and steal,
And profane the name of my God." - Proverbs 30:8b-9

Think about the wisdom of that. If Agur, one of the inspired authors contributing to the book of wisdom within the bible knows that wealth would be bad for him, than why on earth do we think we'd be any stronger as to not turn from God. And would you rather have wealth now and turn from God, or difficulty and live with God everlasting?


But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. - Luke 16:25

I guarantee you when you look back from eternity, you will profusely thank God for the difficulties that brought you there and made you who you are and brought about the blessings that otherwise wouldn't have come. Suffering is never wasted nor endured in vain. Suffering is temporal, but eternal joy with God is forever (Rom. 14:17). If suffering didn't produce eternal results then it would not be a cause for joy.


For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 One may ask how could God allow suffering? Similarly one may ask why I charged the young lady rent when the fact is I didn't want to charge her at all. I neither needed the money, and my heart would rather have her enjoy it. The reason I charged her was not for me, it was for her.


but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. - 1 Peter 4:13

I once gave a ride to a famous photographer who asked me for one. His reason for his asking is that he went blind; completely blind, and has spent the last 3 decades that way. The irony was not lost on me... a man who appreciated the beauty of nature, who made his living off of it, who spent his life capturing it...went blind in his 50's. After dwelling on this I had to ask, politely mind you, but I finally asked him, knowing he was a Christian what he made of that. His reply was "you know Ryan, it's been my observation that God will often hit you where you're strongest", he said with contentment.


Book Studies

Theological Studies

Study Series

The Gospel of Salvation



Drop Me a Line

Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!