But I Thought This Was A Hotel

Why does God allow suffering

I recently read about a gym where actors go to get in shape for movie roles. It’s somewhere in Utah. The facility is barren. You won’t find much in the way of machines. Mostly free weights. The guy who runs the gym is radical. He’s serious about the success of anyone who walks through his door.

Now imagine with me, there are a dozen people at that gym. Half of them recognize it as a gym. They’re there to become strong. They are there to receive training that will enable them to fulfill their role successfully. But the other half, the other half of the group, they think it’s a hotel. That second group–they are going to be very unhappy.

That’s how it can be for you and for me when we look at planet earth as a place designed for our happiness and comfort.

It’s not.

And if you think it through you wouldn’t want it to be. You can’t grow without adversity, and who wants to live a life without growth. God’s environment for us is similar to your environment for your kids. If you kept everything as cushy as possible for your kids, they might wind up like Wayne and Garth, living in your basement at the age of 35.

Nobody wants their children to remain children. So we allow them to experience different forms of “adversity,” if you will. And nobody wants to remain a child.

God tells us in James 1,

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Trials produce steadfastness. Trials produce strength. This earth isn’t a hotel: it’s like that gym.

In the words of C.S. Lewis,

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you will find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training…”

Sometimes training in the gym can be excruciatingly difficult. And training in life can be that way too. But remember: we train for a purpose. We train to become more like Jesus Christ. We train to become more pleasing to our God.

And remember the end.

Remember heaven.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

This world is a place of training.


Sarah, A Place of Training, Deeper Still… Blog

Francis and Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever, Claire Love Publishing, 2014

Matthew Casey, Springs of Life

Image via U.S. Navy – Creative Commons

3 Comments on “But I Thought This Was A Hotel

  1. Pingback: Suffering | God Running

  2. Amen and amen, Kurt!
    My husband’s recent training was no fun; still isn’t. He developed a cough that wouldn’t go away. The VA said it was bronchitis. They gave him more meds and it still wouldn’t go away. Finally a 3rd visit with more x-rays revealed pneumonia. He stayed overnight in their “hotel” 3 nights, they cut him lose and sent him home with O2. We are patiently waiting for the pneumonia to subside, but he’s getting better, slowly but better.
    So last week I had to have a visit to the ER, and went through boot camp with needles, meds, a tread mill test and ultrasound to see if the “ticker” was ok. It was! Praise God! The chest pressure I was feeling seems to be a hiatal hernia.
    We don’t know what a day will bring, but all things work together for those who love Yehovah and those who are called according to His purpose! When we think we are losing “heart”, chances are we aren’t; we just need to focus on His goodness and continue to follow in His footsteps, even if it means a trip to the hospital. On that treadmill I didn’t know if I could get through the six minutes that the doc needed to check my heart’s condition, so I blurted out “I can do all things in Christ Who strengthens me!!” And my knee didn’t give me a problem which I thought would happen.
    God is good all the time.
    When we take the spotlight off of our problem and shine the spotlight on our faith in the One who gives us strength…while we’re in His gym, we cannot fail.

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