Not understanding God’s benevolent purpose, when sorrow and suffering come—whether as the result of conflict over moral choices, of pain and physical illness, or of disappointing circumstances—it is easy to fall into a spirit of resentment and self-pity which produces frustration and depression. When this occurs, one is defeated in his spiritual life, and character deteriorates. He has wasted his sorrow. What God permitted in order to wean him from self-love and self-worship, and therefore for his spiritual growth, has resulted in loss.
There is no way that Christlike character can be formed in man without suffering because he cannot be decentralized otherwise. If he will not suffer, if he determines to evade it, if he refuses to allow the life of nature and of self to go to the cross, to that extent he will remain hard, self-centered, unbroken, and therefore unChristlike.
In order to grow in character, it is necessary to understand that nothing that God permits to come to His child, whether “good” or “ill,” is accidental or without design. Everything is intended to drive him out of himself into God.
God cannot train one without mystifying him, without baffling him. Evidently God has objectives in us which cannot be achieved apart from frustration and bewildering pain.
Review by Dennis Bradley