I appreciate your brothership. Brothers in the same ship!
Anyway, the one thing God is making plain to me again is that the Way of Christ is the Way of the Cross. It is not an aberration or abnormality to be sifted, to be under trial. It is His Way, and ours. Since I've been taught from infancy the religious Christianity that says trials and tribulations are the exception, so I've always looked to avoid them, and have God put me on a solid, "normal" path. It's always been my aim to "get through" them and out the other side so that I can enjoy life once again.
Now I'm learning Christ's Way. He keeps showing me that religious Christianity, with its watered-down version of the gospel, has led us astray, and that His Way is the Way of constant difficulties, opposition, obstacles, confrontation, suffering and the fruit of the Spirit that comes through submitting to them.
These false teachings we've absorbed have ruined our ability to "see" God's work in us, and to have love and joy through the real process of becoming holy. I pray that daily the "eyes of our understanding" would be opened so that we would see the incomparable riches of Christ come in the dark, in the cold, in the losses, in the pain, not in the times of our self-fulfillment and gain.
That is what is giving me joy this morning. I'm so glad He considers me worthy of this cross, the same Cross He carried, and helps us carry now. Like I wrote the other day on revival.com, we all want to stop and spend our time in Gethsemane, in the pleasant garden, crying out for deliverance from the intense trial we see ahead, and yet Christ calls us to move on, to Golgotha, the place of death.