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Suffering Exposes Our Life's True Foundation

According to author and pastor Tullian Tchividjian, "Suffering exposes the foundation of your life." In other words, suffering will reveal the true source of our joy and identity. Tullian offers the following personal story to illustrate this truth:

Seven years ago, after 41 years of marriage, my parents got divorced. It wasn't because of infidelity or abuse, physically or emotionally. My family and I still scratch our heads and wonder exactly what happened. Was it really a case of irreconcilable differences? I don't think that's possible for Christians because of the power of the gospel. It was an incredibly painful time for my siblings and me. We experienced a happy, healthy, loving home growing up. We had remarkable parents, and they provided the stability we needed as children. I don't know what it's like for a mom and dad to go through a divorce while their children are young. All I know is that it's weird to watch your parents' divorce in the stage of life where you have to explain it to your own kids.
The Bible states clearly that God hates divorce. It grieves his heart. There was nothing about my parents' divorce that seemed redemptive. I couldn't understand why God allowed it to happen. I was struggling with the whole situation, not simply because I was sad that my mom and dad apparently could not keep the promises they made to one another 41 years earlier, but because part of my identity was wrapped up in being the son of my parents. I felt important because of their standing in society. My mom and dad were remarkable citizens and church people. Their reputation made me feel significant. I realized years later that much of the devastation I had experienced was due to the fact that I had idolized my parents and their reputation.

Tullian concludes: "If the foundation of your happiness is your vocation, your relationships, or your money, then suffering takes your source of joy away from you. But if your ultimate value in life is God, then suffering drives you closer to your source of joy—God."

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