Everything in life molds us. Our trials, our day-to-day life … our ups and downs. As Christians what we learn as we go through life, and what we do with what we learn, is important. Sometimes though, we take life and “cookie cut”, or stamp out the result instead of allowing God to work His truths out in our life. We repeat “ism” statements without ever really thinking through what we are saying and fully understanding the application.
I know people who can quote whole sections of the Bible, but their lives are not evidence of the truths they quote. Hitler was raised with the Bible and had portions memorized. Even satan* knows the scriptures. I also know people who can tell you that “Spurgeon says, Chambers says, Piper says, Warren says, Graham says …”. But it should be all about what the Bible says to US and how we live according to His word. There is nothing wrong with reading all the commentaries and books out there but when the bottom line is drawn are you somebody’s cookie cutter version of Christ, or are you a hand molded version He has made.
In the past five years my husband lost his job and was unemployed for over four years; my mother fell and broke her hip, had surgery and ultimately went home to be with her Lord; our daughter was buried in a building during an E4 tornado; I have injured my spine with two bulging discs; our home is in foreclosure and the bank is refusing to work with us (still); we had one wedding and two grandchildren born. I am currently in a wrist/thumb brace from a fall last September. It has been one roller-coaster year after another. Even my precious cat died. Sometimes it seems like it never ends. I can look further back in my life to when both my parents had open heart surgery four weeks apart, dad had a stroke on the operating table and was in the hospital seven months prior to his death. And to when my oldest brother was in the car wreck that put him in the hospital for five months. It is still affecting his life 2o+ years later. His son died of a brain tumor a few years after his car wreck. Why so much strife and tragedy? Why did my middle brother have to be killed in a plane crash? Why did we lose three children? Why this, or that? Why Lord? Is all life to be bad? No. But, satan* would believe it’s because we are out of God’s care, that He does not care. The truth is, we have had so many blessings along the way as well. Unfortunately, we get caught up in the bad and what it is suppose to mean in our lives. (Odd how we never ask what a blessing is suppose to mean … like we were due one.)
It is easy to get off track. People ask, “what have you learned?” Or say things like, “maybe the Lord’s trying to teach you ….”. So when we reflect it is easy to get our mind all muddled up in these questions. If you look around at all your friends and what they are going through in their lives, you realize that, although many of your trials may be similar (economic, emotional, spiritual battles), each of us have very specific details to our lives. Some have smooth sailing, but most of us have ups and downs. Some have more downs and I wonder if some of that is because it is a harder lesson to be learned (or is it just that life is hard). Whatever the case, we need to always seek His face and His peace over our life. Life happens. We live in a world governed by sin and evil man. What they do creates a rippling effect that affects our lives, mostly for the bad. God’s not sending us punishment every time something bad happens. He allows life to happen, pure and simple and helps us get through it and grow. Bad things are going to happen.
So as your life of dough is spread over the coming days are you going to let it get you down? Are you going to let others tell you how to handle life? Or will you be hand rolled and shaped by Him instead of a cookie cutter shaped Christian with all the “right” answers?
Jeremiah 18:6 (HCSB)
6 “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the LORD’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.
God allows everything that comes into your life and if you allow Him, He will use everything you face (good and bad) to shape you into the woman/man of God He wants you to be. That way He can use you in others’ lives.
James 1:2-4 (HCSB)
” 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 (HCSB)
“He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t. I refuse to give him any status of importance. He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.