From Andy Stanley’s Louder Than Words, on character in the life of a Christian.

“Our common sense tells us that pursing character is great for the blue-sky days, but storms are a different matter.  Storms are an exception.  When life becomes turbulent, it’s every man for himself.  In times of crisis, we decide that pursuing character may not be in our best interest.

Just about every week I talk to people who say things like…

‘I don’t think God loves me.’

‘I don’t think God really cares about me.’

‘God doesn’t answer my prayers.’

When I ask why, they tell me about the circumstances of their lives.  They tell me stories of sickness, death, divorce, prodigal children, financial ruin.

As all of us are prone to do from time to time, these hurting folks are looking for God in all the wrong places.  They are evaluating His presence and concern by how well He meets their expectations.  They are taking their own personal agenda and measuring God’s faithfulness by how well He meets it.

This works fine until God takes them someplace they never expected.  The minute adversity arises, it seems like there’s a glitch in the system, when in reality, everything is still right on track.  The problem is not their circumstances, but how they interpret them.

The end result of God’s work is not measured by how smoothly our lives run, or by how rich or how beautiful we become.  It’s based on a very specific agenda that God set a long time ago.  His goal is to recreate in you and me the character of Jesus Christ.”