In God's management of the affairs of men suffering is never senseless. We can find plenty of good sense in the metaphor of pruning found in the Gospel of John.
When Jesus was about to say farewell to His disciples, He was straightforward with them about what they should expect when He was gone. They would face much suffering. They would be hated as He has been. they would be persecuted. People would follow their teaching as little as they had followed His. They would be banned from the synagogues and even killed by those who believed that killing them was a special service to God.
It was for them to continue to work, represent Him on earth, be the very bearers of the divine life when the Word Himself was taken away. And how would they do this? They would have to dwell in Him-- abide, remain, make their him in, stay --sharing His life, drawing His strength. Their relationship to Him was that of branches to a vine. The life of the vine is the life of the branch. It has no other life. As long as the branch remains in the vine it is nourished. Cut off, it dies.
"Apart from Me you can do nothing." In the spiritual realm there is no other life but Christ's. In Him we live. Without Him we die.
A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot
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