Feb 9, 2007

The way down is the way up

I was talking to someone last night who was telling me how her employer was pretty bossy (in a snotty sort of way) and how she criticizes everything she does. She told me that she has to pray all day for strength to get through the day without acting out in an ungodly sort of way. I had a thought and said, "Hmm...did you ever think that maybe God put this person in your life to draw you closer to Him?" And she said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Well, maybe God put someone in your life like this so you would depend on Him more. You said you have to pray a lot more to get through the day....well maybe she is in your life so you cling even more closely to Christ."

I thought it was a really awesome idea.

She didn't.

Her exact words were (well, paraphrased) "No, truthfully, I don't agree with that Samantha. I go through so much turmoil in my life outside of work....financial problems, missing my kids, that I don't think I need to be drawn closer to Him because I already have a lot to deal with."

This is such a sad attitude, isn't it? God requires that we give ourselves to Him. Not just at our personal worship time, but at every moment of our day. When everything is going great, when we have successful jobs, lots of friends, a beautiful home, lots of money....well....where is God in all that? When things start going well in my life, I always, ALWAYS notice that I start to get lackadaisical in my prayer life. I don't seek Him like I do when I am feeling low. The believer should seek refuge in Him. When we are blinded by worldly riches, it's hard to see Him.

There is no such thing as "too many" trials. God gives us exactly what we need and enough grace to get us through each day. He never gives us more than we can handle. But God wants to get us to that point where we say, in truth, "Lord, you are sufficient! You are enough! It doesn't matter what happens to me." We can say with Paul, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of Christ."

So when these little problems come into our lives, consider it a gift from God! He is drawing us closer to Himself.

Consider this:

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. (Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers)


Stan said...

Good points, Samantha. Consider, also, this: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4).

It would seem to me that if we truly understood that, truly believed that God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), and truly wanted God's best for our lives, we would embrace the trials, not despise them.

Trin said...

Slightly related, I was reading from 1 Samuel chapter 6 this morning and there was a note in my study Bible about how the Philistines were making God out to be one of many ingredients for a slightly better life. Rather than seeing Him as the source of life, that life is about Him and not us.


Nate said...

Very Insightful.