2/02/2010

Trials: An Excellent Alliteration

The women of my Community Group have been meeting on Monday mornings and studying Ruth together. I've been reading through the Bible, doing a "read the Bible in a year" program through our wonderfully awesome Logos software, and "it just so happened" that today's portion was the Book of Ruth.

Because of the wonder that is Logos, I was able to read some of this amazing commentary, Be Committed by Warren Wiersbe. He said something that just completely enraptured me, so I want to share it with you:

When trouble comes to our lives, we can do one of three things: endure it, escape it, or enlist it. If we only endure our trials, then trials become our master, and we have a tendency to become hard and bitter. If we try to escape our trials, then we will probably miss the purposes God wants to achieve in our lives. But if we learn to enlist our trials, they will become our servants instead of our masters and work for us; and God will work all things together for our good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).

I'll share with you a bit of imagery that I feel the Holy Spirit has given me. I think of things that I am learning in terms of a composter, like this:




Imagine that inside there is soil, rich because of all of the previous things added. When God is teaching me something new, it's like throwing some eggshells and banana peels (or whatever else) into the composter. It starts out looking like stanky chunks of garbage, seemingly useless, but as I live it out and see it applied in my life and continually converse with God about it, He's turning the composting bin over and over- at varying rates of speed- and the trash slowly breaks down into something useful. Over time it's in little pieces, spread throughout the soil, making me that much more of a fertile place for God's glory to grow. I love that image!

So this is in my composter, now. This month, after many months of excess, we're suddenly facing a month of not enough money just as God has called us to, in faith, increase our giving.

Will I "endure", just trying to get through, feeling frustrated and bitter against God all the while because this feels like punishment and it seems unfair? How could He call us to give more faithfully, generously, and sacrificially and we obey but then have unexpected bills and unanticipated lower paychecks come our way?
Will I "escape", ignoring our finances and hiding in TV/mindless internet browsing/video games (my sinful heart loves hiding by playing the Sims 3- a good game when it's not played out of idolatry, mind you- for 8, 10, 12 hours at a time) or even "good things" like church and relationships and the like, just hoping that somehow eventually it will all just be ok but not ever wanting to actually face and deal with it?

Will I "enlist", seeing this as an opportunity to trust God, to go to Him like a young daughter to her father, telling Him all that is on my heart and asking Him to increase my belief that He is good, a God of steadfast love, gentle, and worthy of my worship no matter the circumstance?

I pray that I will enlist, and enlist well. Your prayers are appreciated. Enlisting is the only way for that which appears to be garbage to end up being something amazing, for Jesus' glory made manifest in me. Enduring and escaping show the compost materials to be what they are- rotten garbage, bringing death and not life. The trinitarian God alone can take that which seems utterly hopeless, worthy of a landfill, and turn it to something glorious, a garden of breathtaking beauty.

Did I just add something to your compost bin? Lord willing, I sure hope so!

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