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DocReits November 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Hi Pamela…good thoughts…

Don’t you think, especially in the past(16th-19th centuries) there was a desire to embrace suffering as a means to bring us closer to God? Martin Luther’s self flagellation comes to mind. Even Paul in Philippians seems to desire to experience suffering. Here it is:

“I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”(Phil 3:10).

I guess he got what he prayed for…me…I do not pray that way. Suffering comes quite sufficiently without my praying to get more. I went to a retreat where the pastor had us read from a Benedictine prayer book. In it was an exercise to pray for hardship and suffering so that we might grow closer to Christ..uh, uh, I begged off.

You ever sing that song, “Refiner’s Fire, my heart’s one desire…is to be like You” . I have….to my chagrin….looking back. What Christian doesn’t want to be like Him!? Its not that. Its the “Refiner’s Fire” part I sang in ignorance.

Was it on this site or elsewhere I recently read what a refiner’s fire actually does? It burns the metal completely up, removing the dross. Removing the dross I ‘ll go for, its the burning and melting to a white hot heat I don’t care to go through. Did the author of that song really understand what he was perhaps inadvertently having Christians pray for when singing that song?

I am with Augustine you quoted. I like to avoid pain. I want to stay close to Christ so that I don’t have to be chastised, punished, or refined. Its so much easier that way. Its like we teach our kids, we visit prisons. We do not reside there. We follow Christ in love and obedience. If He asks us to suffer for Him we do it. IMO, do not pray for suffering unless you are prepared for God to answer you.



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