When I first read Vance Havner’s Testimony from his later years I was stopped in my tracks when he began to speak about true converts and their faithful living. He said they accepted their heritage of being ‘shipwrecked on God and stranded on Omnipotence.’ It wasn’t until this morning that I finally found this statement by Tozer on ‘The Uses of Suffering’ that I was able to better grasp what Havner was saying.
There is another kind of suffering, known only to the Christian: it is voluntary suffering deliberately and knowingly incurred for the sake of Christ. Such is a luxury, a treasure of fabulous value, a source of riches beyond the power of the mind to conceive. And it is rare as well as precious, for there are few in this decadent age who will of their own choice go down into this dark mine looking for jewels. But of our own choice it must be, for there is no other way to get down. God will not force us into this kind of suffering. He will not lay this cross upon us nor embarrass us with riches we do not want. Such riches are reserved for those who apply to serve in the legion unto death, who volunteer to suffer for Christ’s sake and who follow up their application with lives that challenge the devil and invite the fury of Hell. Such as these have said good-by to the world’s toys; they have chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God: They have accepted toil and suffering as their earthly portion. The marks of the cross are upon them and they are known in Heaven and Hell.
But where are they today? Has this breed of Christian died out of the earth? Have the saints of God joined the mad scramble for security? Has the cross become no more than a symbol, a bloodless and sterile relic of nobler times? Are we now afraid to suffer and unwilling to die? I hope not, but I wonder. And only God has the answer.
A.W. Tozer (the Radical Cross, Chapter 15, page 63)
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Cor 1:17-25 (NASB)