Are you Rich? (part 3)

I continue to mull over the question, “What talents has God blessed you with?” And I’ve come to some rather paradoxical conclusions, some answers that I might not have considered reasonable at one time. Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  And later the brother of Jesus, James, wrote in his epistle, “Consider it a delight when various trials assail you.”

Does this mean that suffering and grief are “talents” to be included in the wealth God has entrusted? My first thought is a resounding “NO!” God didn’t create us to suffer! He didn’t form us in His perfect image to live out broken lives. He created us for joy…joy in His presence…His joy and ours.

But what if, and this is a big “what if”, the pain and suffering we experience in this fallen world are portals into the joy we were created for. Scripture is clear that we will suffer and grieve in this life. Jesus warned his disciples, “In this life you WILL have tribulation.” No doubt about it, tribulation is coming. “But,” Jesus continued, “Take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Would there be any comfort in that, if there were no tribulation? Would there be any anticipation for better, brighter things?  We grieve, but not like those who have no hope. Why? Because our grief is a reminder of a higher call, a deeper joy, a brighter future.

So if suffering and pain are entrusted to us as stewards, then how do we steward the wealth of pain well? By making much of Christ in our suffering. By grieving as ones who have hope. By suffering with anticipation. By comforting others with the comfort we have received. By believing every word of Christ is true and trusting Him to redeem our pain.

Truthfully I’d rather not be rich in pain. I’d rather not possess a wealth of suffering. But I don’t get to choose. I get to trust.

One Response to "Are you Rich? (part 3)"

  • Hi Tabitha,

    I am so thankful that God has brought us together – I really enjoyed our time together on Thursday morning. I ended up talking to my dad yesterday afternoon, and mentioned your blog to him. He emailed me about a couple resources that you might already know about, but just in case you don’t, I’ll copy his email below. The project RETURN website is
    I look forward to getting together again next week!
    Love, Elissa
    (see my dad’s email below & let me know if you have any questions)

    The BASICS website is:

    At the bottom of the home page, there is a button for “Genesis …”. They should click on this button to go to the Genesis page, which is the BASICS ministry to ex-offenders.

    I recommend that your friends approach both BASICS and Project RETURN.

    BASICS is a strong evangelical Christian ministry, that has a program to work with ex-offenders. I don’t know how much work they have done to date in that area, but I recommend them as a strong & capable ministry.

    Project RETURN has been very active for many years in working with ex-offenders. They have a social justice strategy and mindset, but have a connection to local churches and have some Christian staff.

    1 Elissa said this (November 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm) Reply

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