Yet the Lord continues to allow disturbances, both great and small, to punctuate my life. In my younger years, I regarded these disturbances as interruptions to "real life," but I've since accepted the fact that real life consists of both delights and disasters. So, there's some philosophical progress.
As years passed, I eventually got to the place at which I could even agree theoretically with Romans 8:28--
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)Of course, I much prefer quoting that particular verse in hindsight than I do during a trial. But when people (with all the sensitivity of Job's comforters) mention it when I feel flattened by life's struggles, I agree very grudgingly. Inwardly, I wonder why He has to work unpleasant, and even painful, things for my good and His purpose.
Now, far too many years after I should have understood that Jesus saved me for His sake rather than my own, I've started to understand that disruptions and sufferings give me opportunities to represent Christ. People watch my responses to circumstances, and sometimes they judge the Lord based on my behavior. Sadly, I usually send the message that He can be disregarded during times of frustration, and that life revolves more around my immediate comfort than around His eternal purposes.
The Lord wants me to serve Him by accepting difficulties as opportunities to reflect His nature and exhibit faith in Him. Yes, I'll fail sometimes, forgetting that He created me for His pleasure rather than Him existing for my benefit. But I'm making philosophical progress that He will mature into actual behavior. Praise Him for that progress.