I'm on a bit of an Ed Welch kick right now. Even though I am still in the middle of Running Scared, I bought his new book. I so appreciate how he distills theology into real life situations. This is practical theology at its best, in my opinion.
In his new book, Side by Side (look for a review at Out of the Ordinary next Wednesday), Welch establishes two truths: we are needy and we are needed. Before we can come alongside others, we have to recognize that we are needy. That truth goes a long way in keeping us humble.
He encourages the reader that we can and should grow in our trials. In fact, he considers it a skill:
One of the critial spiritual skills for every follower of Jesus is to bring order to the internal ruckus and grow in trouble rather than rage or wither in in (2 Cor. 4:16). Tribulatioin will not win in the end. In the midst of physical misery we can have hope, and hope is one of our most valued responses to the difficulties of life.
To rage or wither in tribulation; that is the question. When we rage against it, we struggle, worry, and fret. We resist God's dealings in our lives. It can lead to bitterness and hardness of heart. When we wither, we just give up and ignore that God is present and hears us. It is indeed a skill to bring order from the ruckus, and it's a skill that starts with theology; with knowing who God is.