Sunday, December 7, 2008

Timely Words

Yesterday while studying Scripture God opened my eyes to the reason for a problem I have with my possessions. I had been asking about it, but was still startled and even shaken by His answer. Taking the next step, I began confessing that I had not been trusting Him for specific things, and also confessing anything else that came to mind as being less than fully dedicated to Him.

After that, He put in my mind to make a list to help me get things right. That kept me up a bit later than usual. When I finally was ready to sleep, I noticed my hubby had filled and plugged in a portable humidifier in our bedroom. It was running, yet the gauge said the humidity in the room was higher than the setting. I took a look and realized the tank was empty. I felt around the floor and was dismayed to find out it had leaked on the floor and down the nearby cold air intake, mostly into the basement but partly through the main floor bathroom ceiling. I woke hubby and we were up until after 2:00 a.m. taking care of that little mess.

Five hours sleep might not seem a big deal to younger people but it puts me in trance mode. I felt weak spiritually and now weak physically. What is going on here? I know this is mild suffering, even silly compared to what Christians in places like India and Pakistan are suffering right now, but I still feel somewhat uncomfortable and under the Holy Spirit’s gun.

Today’s verse startles me again, only this time with its encouragement. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

A line from the reading that goes with this verse jumps out at me: “If He indeed touched your heart with His blessed finger, remember you will have to walk, from beginning to end in a path of suffering, for the whole path, more or less, is a path of tribulation.”

Tribulation is on a scale. When Jesus came to earth, He experienced it all, from the lesser things like filth, stench, ugliness, and noise (stuff that is not part of heaven) to deeper trials of being despised and rejected, spit on, scorned, and eventually murdered. The Bible doesn’t say if He faced ordinary inconveniences like humidifiers with a crack in the tank, yet it does say He knows what I go through.

Thinking about that, my head says, “But He was never convicted of sin and felt deeply discouraged for being sinful.” My head is wrong. When He went to the Cross, all the sin of the world was put on Him and He felt the weight of it all. I cannot imagine that but know that it was so terrible that it killed Him.

Little things that I suffer are nothing in comparison, yet Jesus is kind to me. He touches me with His tender hand and whispers a timely encouragement. From His Word, I know that in conviction and even through broken plastic things, He is working to make me mature. He wants my faith to be deeply established and rooted in Him. He wants a godliness and a calm spirit that I do not have now. He is strengthening me, even though I feel weak and tired, because through the combination of His Word and ordinary life, I am realizing again the reality of how He works all things together for my good, to make me more like Himself.

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