Pain and Suffering Loosen Our Grip on Life

Pain and suffering loosen our grip on this temporal life.  Deeper suffering can lead to deeper surrender.  In time, our career aspirations and our personal opinions become less important.  Our bodies age, our joints stiffen and ache, our eyes grow dim, digestion slows, and sleep becomes difficult.  Yet at the same time, the ups and downs of daily life grow smaller and smaller.  With each new pain and health complication, the world becomes more appealing.  In its own way, pain paves the way for a graceful departure (Ecclesiastes 12:1-14).  Death, after all, is not the end but the threshold of a new day.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 163

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Brokenness Precedes Usefulness

Brokenness precedes usefulness.  It just does.  Who reaches out to parents who have lost children to drunken driving accidents?  Other parents who have lost children to drunken-driving accidents.  When we go through something painful and when God breaks us, it makes us both more useful to others and more willing to be used.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 159

We Are Free to Fail

Fortunately, for the downtrodden and addicted, Paul was not whistling “Dixie”.  God does not get things done in the world by merely adding a new coat of paint; He brings the house down to the foundation so that he can build something new.  God does not argue with us so that we take our medicine and get well.  He raises us from the dead!  God doesn’t give us advice about how to overcome; in the gospel, Jesus has already overcome!  Amid our glorious ruin, Jesus is strong, so we’re free to be weak; Jesus won, so we’re free to lose; Jesus was a somebody, so we can be a nobody;  Jesus was extraordinary, so we are free to be ordinary; and Jesus succeeded for us, so we are free to fail!

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 154-155

Our Dreams are a Window into our Theology

Our dreams are a window into our theology.  We are a proud people, the inheritors of the American Dream – the pursuit of happiness is our inalienable right.  Like bratty, self-involved little kids, we push past the Giver to grab for the gift.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 153

The Foolishness of God in the Cross is Wiser than the Wisdom of the World

The foolishness of God in the cross is wiser than the wisdom of the world.  The righteousness that avails before God is being claimed by the crucified and resurrected Christ.  It is not like accomplishing something but like dying and coming to life.  It is not like earning something but more like falling in love.  It is not the attainment  of a long-sought goal, the arrival at the end of a process, but the beginning of something absolutely new, something never before heard of or entertained…

Grace says, “Believe it” and everything — EVERYTHING! — is already done.  It is the creative Word of God.  If that doesn’t work then nothing will…The theologian of the cross knows that the love of God creates precisely out of nothing.  Therefore the sinner must be reduced to nothing in order to be saved…[This] is the hope of the resurrection.  God brings life out of death.  He calls into being that which is from that which is not.  In order that there be a resurrection, the sinner must die.  All presumption must be ended.  The truth must be seen

– Gerhard Forde

as quoted by Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 148