"Bless you prison, bless you, for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison floor, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul."
Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned under Stalin for almost a decade.
I as a pastor am always trying through teaching and preaching to get my church family to understand that.
I as a Christian am striving to get myself to understand that. I do, to a degree, but that degree is not far enough.
The maturing of the soul comes only through communion with Christ. Php 3:7-11 became very meaningful to me last week in my prayer time. I rephrased some of the text into parallel desires:
I want to gain Christ (8).
I want to be found in Christ (9).
I want to know Christ (10).
I am dissatisfied with my relation to Christ. There's too much of me and not enough of him. I want him to come. "If anyone is thirsty", he says (Jn 7:37). I am thirsty.
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him" (Lk 11:13). I ask, Lord, for your Holy Spirit. Give to me richly and powerfully.