About the author


Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at


  1. avatar


    Good post.

    I think we hurt ourselves more by our poor decision making and the results of those decisions end up as circumstances that God uses to get our attention.

    Of course this opens the whole can of worms regarding whether something I did caused me to get sick. Clearly not the case when Jesus was asked by the disciples why the man was blind from birth. Response was he hadn’t sinned nor had his parents. Makes you think tho.

    Anyway greetings from SA. :)

  2. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Good thought, Matt. Sometimes we’re the “hammer” God is using to “beat us into shape”…

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. avatar


    This is a beautiful description of what it means to REALLY trust our God. Trust His love, His goodness and His sovereignty.

  4. avatar


    Um…so I have a small question… how do you know when you should be you should be just enduring difficulty and when you need to be doing something about getting away from the difficulty?

    Do we just assume everything bad that happens to us is God’s hammer at work in our lives? How can we tell when bad things are happening in our lives if they are God trying to get us to take action and move out of the situation or if He wants us to endure the furnace and stay put?

    Are there specific circumstances that are givens for enduring or (for want of a better word) escaping difficulties in life? Should we approach each trial or trouble as if it were the hammer of God and go from there? Or does it all rely on individual guidance for individual circumstances?

    …sorry…kinda more than a small question… =P

  5. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Good question Kez.

    Suffering is ubiquitous in the Christian life. It will happen. Often.

    The key is to be suffering in the right ways and for the right things. Christians are not supposed to be sadomasochists. Nor is monasticism or self-flagellation biblical. In other words, if there’s a fire, get out! If someone is being a jerk and you can avoid being around them, do. If you can get medical help, by all means, get it. If you can afford to find another job, put out your resume. If you can pursue legal protection, pursue it.

    This is the biblical pattern, though I think it’s simply a matter of good sense. David dodged the spear and hid in caves. Jesus carefully avoided the murderous plots of the Jews until “his time had come.” Paul appealed to Roman law to get out of prison and appealed to Caesar for a legal hearing.

    There is no virtue in suffering per se. The virtue is in suffering joyfully when you can’t get out of the fire; when you can’t get away from the jerk; when medical science has done all it can and the suffering continues; when there is no other way to make a living; when the law will not protect you.

    But ultimately, whether you stay in the fire or get out, the fire will cause suffering. If you hang around the jerk, you will suffer, but in escaping the jerk, you will suffer as well. Medical procedures/treatments can be extremely painful and leave lasting suffering. Finding new work involves losing opportunities, tenure, benefits, friendships, etc. Appealing to the law is not likely to eliminate suffering either. It can, in fact, lead to great suffering.

    So the ethic presented here is not glorifying suffering for the sake of suffering, or as inherently virtuous. Rather, it is glorifying the sovereign goodness of God in sometimes allowing us to suffer in spite of our good sense and wise responses to the difficulties of life. It is magnifying the skill of the “workman” in masterfully accomplishing his gracious work through every means which he chooses to use. It is reminding us that God is God and we are not. That God is wise enough to work all things for our joy and for his glory, and that those two things are not in contradiction, but are rather in perfect harmony because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.

    Peter makes this point explicit when he says to slaves in 1 Peter 2:19-20 “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” Here are situations in which the law did not effectively protect slaves from unjust masters. Peter is not endorsing slavery in any way, shape, or form. What he is saying is that while this social condition exists, slaves are to endure this unjust suffering in a way that demonstrates trust in the sovereign goodness of God.


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