And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Gold or Faith
Which one would you choose? Sometimes in life, things do not go as we plan. Maybe for some of us, rarely do things go as we plan or dream of. Did you ever wonder why it seems that some families seem to cruise smoothly down the highway of life and nothing major seems to happen to them? They have plenty of money and talent and succeed at whatever they put their mind to. And then there are families that seem to ride on the rumble strips for years! They have rough child bearing years, they seem to be medically needy, and only seem to have enough money to scrape by each week and when they put their mind to whatever, it just don't seem to pan out as planned. Ever wonder? Is God blessing the one group of families and cursing the other? Is the one group obedient and reaping all the material blessings and the other sinning in some way and God is punishing?
Oh, I have contemplated this for many, many years! For you see, we seem to be one of the families that rumble while we are cruising. Sometimes we even seem to hit all the pot holes that are available. We have experienced bruises, bumps and even a few concussions. And it is not Dave's fault, nor mine, nor anyone elses. It is life! It has been a trip, and a trip that we have learned so much on! It is not a pity seeking journey or a boo hoo sob story! Far from it! It is a journey that maybe some of you are traveling right now and need some encouragement.
A few weeks ago, Dave shared a verse with us and it has effected me dramatically! I can choose to look back and think of all the "rumbles" with a bitter, envious attitude. I can stick my pointer finger straight out and try to find someone, anyone to wag it at and lay the blame on. I can accuse God of not caring for me or fear that He was punishing me for something I must have done. Or I can think and meditate on the verse that Dave challenged us with......I Peter 1:7..That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth...... He asked us which we would rather have - trials or gold? Which would you pick? Well.....we first picked gold, knowing already that was the wrong answer. Oh, "gold" would solve all the problems! We could have great fun! Get out of debt, go on vacations, have a new car, if we want something we could whip out a piece of gold from our stash in the closet safe and pay it. It would be grand.....but in the end it would all perish. It would mean nothing in eternity. It is so inferior to the trials that come our way, that force us to look to God and trust Him. "Gold" can just be a smooth ride. Everything going our way, having our prayers answered on time, if there is a want it is met, great relationships, great circumstances. We would be "earthly", and emptily rich! The trials that come into our lives make us more understanding, sympathetic, and compassionate people to those around us. Trials can bring us to the end of ourselves and make us realize that we are nothing without HIM! They can force us to look at our priorities, see God at work, see His grace being poured out. What is my trial of faith, or yours? Is it a bad report from the Dr., a notice of eviction in the mail, a cheating spouse, a rebellious child, an addiction, financial difficulties, nagging thyroid issues ☺, a job that you hate? Is it God's punishment to you? No, His love will be there and shine through for us! When we learn to look at all circumstances through the eyes of our Lord, we will see that He is asking us to lean on Him, learn from Him, trust in Him and what we learn will bring peace through the trials and have an effect on us for eternity and that IS more precious than gold can ever be. A popular phrase is "God is so good", and He is! But, it seems that I hear (and say) it when things are going good, going "my" way, the report was a positive one, the bills are being paid, we received an answered prayer. The point that God wants us to arrive at is that we can shout "God is SO good" when we are vibrating down the rumble strip, with no answers, no solutions, no good report, and mean it from the bottom of our hearts. Can I see God in the potholes? DO I want to see God in the potholes? Or is my desire to still ride the smooth road with no resistance? Oh, I have a lloonngg way to travel! But, I know the end result is worth fighting for. I am thankful, or maybe I should say, starting to be thankful, for the rumble strips (most of them anyway :-)), and for the potholes for now I know that they can be used to increase my faith and make me more like Jesus.
By the way, I believe that all families, including the seemingly smooth sailing ones, have their areas of trials. Some are just more externally obvious.