Last week our entire family — and friends who were visiting us — were struck down by a wretched stomach virus that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It took us completely out.

And it caused me to reflect some on the issue of suffering. I realized that deep down — if I’m truly honest with myself — I don’t expect to suffer. Instead, I foolishly believe that I’ve suffered enough up til now, haven’t done anything to warrant more suffering, or already am “suffering” in the ways that I’m sacrificing to live for God rather than myself.

WOW – what an eye opener for me. I actually expect that I will live on the mountain tops for the rest of my life. So every time I hit a valley, I’m shocked. It rocks me. I didn’t expect it. Even though I know that God never promises us a lifetime of mountaintops (that’s saved for eternity). Quite the opposite — he guarantees us a lifetime of suffering if we’re dedicated to Him. So it makes no sense for me to expect a lifetime of mountaintops and no suffering. Instead, I should expect valleys and suffering, and be joyfully surprised by the mountaintops.

After all, if I expect the mountaintops, then I won’t be thankful for them. And if I don’t expect the valleys, then I won’t be able to pass through them to the next mountaintop.