Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Radical Life Changes Challenge Us To Make Changes

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Is It Just Me Or What?

Ever since I walked through my time of difficulty beginning almost two and a half years ago, I have been amazed to witness, encounter, and uncover that a lot of people are going through some heavy stuff. I don't know if this is partially the result of people unloading on me because of my own personally experience; or maybe this is due to what life phase I'm going through right now (mid-life); or perhaps this is another symptom of bad economic times. When the economy goes in the tank, a lot of other bad things happen as a direct or indirect result. It's kind of like when you have bad news in one area of your life, it has the tendency to affect all the other parts of your life.

There may be multiple reasons for the hurt and trials people are going through, but all I know is that the pain and the problems are very real for a lot of people right now. Just in my little circle of friends and sphere of influence, I know a family that is facing challenging health issues with two of its members. Several couples I know are having marital problems. Another family has a spouse going through a mental breakdown. Another couple I know is having fertility problems. And, others are struggling with their financial situation.

Embrace Your Situation

I don't know if you are going through a challenging time in your life during these difficult days. Perhaps, God has spared you and your family at this time. But maybe, just maybe you are really struggling right now. You are going through the valley.

I know where you're at, today. I've been there and got the t-shirt, and it's not a fun place to be. What I've learned through the trials and tribulations, though, is not to fight it. We can all wail, moan, kick, and scream about our own personal situation, but at the end of the day, what have we really accomplished? Nothing!

Using previous experience as my own teacher, my recommendation is simply embrace the struggle, whatever it may be. Pray about your problem. Ask the Lord if He is trying to teach you something through your circumstances. Perhaps, He is trying to purge you of some bad habits from your life. Or, He just needs you to experience a deeper spiritual growth, a deeper spiritual relationship with God that only comes through pain.
The breaking of the alabaster box and the anointing of the Lord filled the house with the odor, with the sweetest odor. Everyone could smell it. Whenever you meet someone who has really suffered; been limited, gone through things for the Lord, willing to be imprisoned by the Lord, just being satisfied with Him and nothing else, immediately you scent the fragrance. There is a savor of the Lord. Something has been crushed, something has been broken, and there is a resulting odor of sweetness. - Watchman Nee
Relax, Change Takes Time

So, once you have embraced your situation, it's time to just settle in and relax (I know, easier said than done!). Change often just plain takes a lot of time to happen. So often in our lives, there are many deep, ingrained patterns, that it's just going to be a lengthy process to change the direction of those patterns. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what He wants to change, and then allow Him to do the work only He can do. Become clay in the potter's hands, and allow Him to shape you into the man or woman that He desires to use for His Kingdom purposes.
The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it's going to be a lot better and a lot bigger. - Elisabeth Elliot
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