The Mercy of Trials

What Doesn’t Kill You …

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2016

The Mercy of Trials

Key Bible Verse: Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12, ESV)

Dig Deeper: Romans 8:35-39

When you’re going through a really hard time, some people don’t know what to say. As a result, they often throw out meaningless clichés or trite attempts to cheer you up. You don’t do anybody any favours by giving them light and fluffy hope that aren’t rooted in anything. When deep pain hits, we need rock-solid truth to sustain us.

During his bout with cancer, the atheist writer Christopher Hitchens [wrote], “‘In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that ‘whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” He sent on to say, “In the brute physical world … there are all too many things that could kill you, don’t kill you, and then leave you considerably weaker.”

It sounds depressing, but I think Hitchens is right in a sense. It is quite possible that we can go through difficult things that only weaken us and bring us closer to death. Even the most positive people can be broken down by the brutality of our fallen world. Optimism can only survive so many beatings until it breaks and reality finally chokes it out. But at the same time, is it possible the well-meaning sentiment Hitchens attacked is ever true? I think so.

Source of quote: Christopher Hitchens, Mortality (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2012), 59-60.

– Trip Lee in Rise


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