I was having a nice, long chat with a senior saint recently, and the topic came around to trials…health challenges in particular. I’ve had my share, and they are really nothing compared to so many. But they have added a perspective that is of such great value, and I’ve missed out on seeing it while muddling through the process of just getting through each day.
So often we pray for God to take things away. Paul did it too…three times he asked for relief of that “thorn in the flesh”. We are easily much more persistent than that…a dozen times we ask…three dozen times… We want rid of that thing, when what God wants is for us to ask for His grace to press on through so that He might be glorified.
“But…won’t He be glorified if this just gets removed miraculously from my life?”, we might ask.
But don’t we marvel more at our brothers and sisters who faithfully continue, in spite of hindrances and obstacles? Sometimes we are left speechless, and we observe, “I could never do that as he has done…I could never keep on as she is doing…” These chosen ones are placed in a special showcase, exhibiting God’s grace in an uncommon way, through each common day. They are humble trophies for Him. God is polishing their gold.
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
The simple truth that I shared with this lovely, wise lady was that God has been continually convincing me to stop coming to Him with my grocery list…my suggestions for how things can be fixed. Just come to Him asking for His purposes, because they are higher and wider and deeper than I can begin to understand. He knows all the lives involved (Christians are never an “island unto themselves”) and all the surrounding events. He knows all the resources and possibilities and potentials.
This lady has never endured much physical suffering herself. And I was surprised to find that this was a new perspective to her. She said she’d never thought of it…asking for His purposes. I’ve been saved probably half of the time she has been walking with the Lord, and yet, I had something of worth to share and lift her up. I’m so grateful that God let me do that…she has so often been my encourager!
Speak a humble word today from your instructed heart. You never know who might need to hear it. Our compassion is enlarged when our understanding is opened like this, being enriched by what others have experienced. I loved being encouraged by my friend’s memories and lessons as well. This is true Christian fellowship, and I was so blessed by it.