"It's easy to endure in the good times. It's when the hard times hit that our endurance is proven. When times get tough, it's tempting to neglect the secret place." I've said things quite similar to this myself...
- "Hardship can be embraced with joy, in my opinion, only when we understand God's purpose in the pain. 'My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience' (James 1:2-3). The only way to be joyful in trials is through "knowing" -- knowing God's purpose in it. How do we learn God's purposes in our sufferings? The secret pursuit of God in His word is what will reveal purpose to us."
- "One of the scriptural symbols for this process is pearl. Pearl is formed within an oyster which has experienced the distress of a foreign particle of sand getting stuck within its shell. Pearl represents the eternally valuable change God works within us in the place of hardship. There is nothing else that changes us quite so readily and profoundly as a devotion to the secret place in the midst of grueling hardship."
- "The longer the irritant resides within the oyster's shell, the more valuable the pearl becomes. Therefore, the formative value of tribulation is sometimes directly proportional to the duration of the crucible. The longer the distress, the more valuable the pearl. It is the confidence of this reality which empowers us to persevere with joy. When we endure in love through hardship, we qualify to enter the gates of pearl - for the only way to enter the eternal city is through the pearly gates of "treasure perfected in hardship."
Abiding with all the endurance I can muster,