T. A. Sparks wrote, “He is ever reaching farther and farther beyond us, and drawing us out beyond ourselves, beyond our resources of mind and will, yet drawing us on, and making us know that we have got to go on. We just cannot stand still; we have to go on.”
In Hebrews we read, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto maturity; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God…” (Hebrews 6:1 KJ2000)
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then are you illegitimate children, and not sons… Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11 KJ2000)
Tribulation works experience… being drawn on beyond ourselves, that is what He is doing in those who are His sons and daughters.
I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak… in labors more abundant, in stripes beyond measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes less one. Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are outside, that which comes upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must boast, I will boast of the things which concern my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 11:21-30 KJ2000)
This kind of makes our little afflictions look pretty light, yet God knows what we can take and what is necessary to refine us as gold unto HIS glory. Praise Him that He won’t let us settle for a mere Sunday Christian existence.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. (Romans 5:3-5 KJ2000)
Let us go on… whatever it takes, dear Father, draw us out into the perfection you desired in your mature saints.