“Blessed is the person who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:6) … Life always comes down to trusting in the Lord rather than trying to figure out His ways via our finite, limited understanding… We may not always understand what He does or allows, but He can still be trusted. This is the nature of walking by faith rather than by sight. Even when His grace isn’t sufficient, it is sufficient. And He is in control.
(Frank Viola, in a Monday blog post entitled ‘The Forgotten Beatitude: Three Reasons Why Christians Get Offended by God and What to do About It’) H/T: TB
Yesterday, after worship, more than twenty men at our church gathered for two hours, over pizza, to explore two specific aspects of the fruit of the Spirit: Peace and Patience, (perhaps my shortest suits). Such a thing may not be so remarkable in the Bible belt, but here in gospel-starved New England, the mere fact of more than twenty men (in a church of only ~100 people in worship) carving two hours out of a lovely afternoon is astounding, refreshing, encouraging.
Beyond the numbers though, it was profoundly enriching discussion, among a group diverse in virtually every outward dimension (age, race, economic status, national origin, years in faith, etc.) Yet for each aspect of this fruit (think of them as segments of an orange: integrated yet distinct) the discussion kept coming back to one point: trust.
Short on peace? You’re probably short on trust. Short on patience? You’re probably short on trust. Short on trust (in the Lord)? You’re probably short on peace and patience and a bunch of other things too. Secondarily, a point came up which had confused me for years: the world offers fakes of those fruit. E.g., Peace: the temporary absence of violence (giving short-shrift to original sin and the murderous thoughts which arise from it.) Patience: saying ‘whatever’ and walking away, either physically or mentally (a form of contempt).
In that context, Viola’s post struck a chord. The whole thing is worth reading.