Withheld affection breeds a deeper affection for Christ–we just aren’t sure exactly how…

Do you have a friend or loved one who stands against your faith; who rejects the God you spend your life investing in? Do they think you’re weird and off-base and a little taken in by foolish notions? Are you thought of as a naive individual because of your decision for Christ? Do you wonder why it has to be so hard–why the world around you has to reject you so fiercely?

Do you lose sight of your reward because so many earthly rewards are being stripped away? If the communication lines have gone down between you and some of your loved ones because of this, perhaps it is because God wants to deepen your personal fellowship with Him.

You can never underestimate the worth of this–no matter how great the challenges that He uses to bring this about. Your life is of more worth to you than anything, but so often the things you and I count as life-giving fall so far short of the real thing. God’s care for us in trials like the one we’re discussing here are often an expression of God’s will that we be not cut off from the life that only He can give. God’s wealth of life goes deeper than anything we can experience apart from Him. Because this life is so good for us, God will push us to mortgage all the other forms of life available to us on the hope of finding and resting in His.

As He does this, He teaches us to go deeper with Him. To lay aside short-sighted and shallow affections for the sake of pursuing Him into places sometimes so sparse that He is the only one present to treasure. This is good for us, my brother/sister. God could not give us a better gift. It is the gift of Himself.

Certainly, it comes at a cost. But this cost reveals the genuineness of our affection for Christ as it tests our willingness to count all things as loss compared to Him. Therefore, as hard as the trials that confront us from every side are, they come with the power to make Christ the central object of our faith and the fullness of our confidence. We learn to want nothing but Him because we know that there is no one to compare with Him.

That’s a blessing wrapped in grace that does not shy away from thorns or ridicule–this was the fare of our Master who passed this grace on to us, let us also receive it as fare befitting we who have taken on the glories of fellowship with Him.

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