Monday, September 27, 2010

Gods Path Not Mine

There are times when I have felt very discouraged in my spiritual walk with God.  Times that CS Lewis called spiritual wastelands when I didn't feel Gods presence in my life.  These were times of growth and maturing in my walk as a Christian where I learned about Faith.  Just recently we went through one of these times.  My huband lost his job and through the lies of his old manager he was denied unemployment.  Suddenly we were faced with no money coming in. We prayed and prayed for a job as my husband applied for countless positions.   Nothing panned out.   Then our tub got a crack in the bottom and we could no longer use it or fix it so we resorted to the downstairs "unique" tub which looks like it was made for Lilliputians.  Our small amount of savings was gone and we felt as if we were at the end.  That night I prayed (as I had for weeks) that God would bring a job opportunity to husband and I added a new prayer.  I prayed that it was His will he would bring me children to watch for extra money.  I would not advertise or even tell people I was open to watching children because I wanted it to be God's Plan for me.  Not my own will.

The next morning I got a call from a women who had heard of me and asked if I could watch her two sons.  She had found out about me through her sister talking about meeting me and being impressed.  Later that day husband got a call from a local farmer looking to hire drivers for harvest and offering a very good wage.  The job lasted much longer than expected but still was only temporary so husband kept applying.  Nothing was happening and when his temp job ended we again felt the fear of unpaid bills.  Just when we were getting to hopelessness a job that we weren't looking for was advertised.  Husband called and in less than a week was hired.  As apposed to all the jobs he applied for that ignored him no matter what he did this job went through as smooth as cream.  And it was not a job we would have wanted for Husband.  However after one month working there he says it's the best place he has ever worked.  The people that he works for are fair and moral managers.

As I look back on all the  hard times we have had I realize that Gods plan is not always what we have planned.  Sometimes its exactly what we do not have planned.  Sometimes it is going in a direction that seems really frightening, but God works all things to the good.  And the direction that seemed so hopeless in fact is the only path that could take you to a place of amazing blessing and hope.  Every hardship I have experienced has refined my relationship with the Lord.  Would I be the person I am today if I had not gone through these trials?  I know I would not have grown and matured if left in a comfortable and easy place.

Many Christians believe that if you are a good Christian then God will only bless you and trials and tribulations will never occur in your life.  But this is absolutely not Biblical!  In fact Christ says that we will be persecuted and tried because of our faith.  Most of these ideas comes from Western churches.  Go to Africa, Asia, or South America and you will see Christians suffering from horrible conditions in life as well as outright persecution for faith.  Only in our very decadent western civilization do you see this idea that life contains no suffering.  I think this is because as Americans we have seen so little real hardship and this has translated into some churches.  The time is ending for easy living, but how many people will loose hope in God from being told that only those bad Christians suffer.

Before opening my Bible I always pray that God will give me understanding and wisdom for what I read and also that He will guide me to what He wants me to think about.  Sometimes this takes me to uncomfortable areas on my own life and what I need to work on.  But it also says in the Bible that God disciplines those he loves as any father does.  Here are passages that stands out to me today.

James 1:2

Profiting from Trials

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produce patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

1 Peter 4:16

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 

This is my favorite verse

Romans 5:1

Faith Triumphs in Trouble

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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