Monday, January 5, 2009

"Not for nothing!"

I clearly remember one late-night discussion with my sisters some months ago. I'd received some difficult news and was feeling particularly discouraged. As I shared this with my sisters, one of them wisely reminded me that it is those who have suffered the most that God is able to use the most. My difficulties at that moment (and those I face today) were not allowed by God just to torture me, nor were they the random happenings of a life left up to chance - they were specifically allowed into my life by my loving Father to qualify me for a wider sphere of service for His glory.

That bit of wisdom was exactly what I needed to hear that night, and it has come often to mind since, giving me hope and fresh strength to press on. Everything in our lives has a purpose - it is "not for nothing," as Elisabeth Elliot so succintly phrased it. If we truly believe this, we will be able to "count it all joy," as this quote reminds us (thanks to Emilie for sharing it!):
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
~James 1:2~

"What kind of Christian will God use?" is the great question. That is not difficult to answer. He will use the same kind He has always used.

Just turn through the Bible and see whom He used in times past. Look at Joseph in the Old Testament. Who was tried more than this son of Jacob? He was abused by his brethren, sold into slavery, imprisoned on false charges, but he was patient and forbearing. It was Joseph who saved the Jewish race in that terrible famine. It was Joseph who won the favor of a pagan king and thereby obtained a home for his father and brethren. He could say, "Count it all joy when you fall into divers trials." The way to face every trial and every temptation is with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake."

Trial lets down a blazing torch into the human nature and helps one to see many things which he little expected to see. One of the marvels of modern science is the use of electric light by divers at the bottom of the sea to take pictures of sea life. It is this biological conception that James has in mind in order to reveal spiritual truth. What do we learn by trials and temptations? We learn patience. Patience is the product of trial. Happiness is found also by enduring ill for the sake of Jesus.
~C.E. Matthews

1 comment:

  1. That is so good. It's hard to remember that sometimes, even when you have the book of James memorized. LOL!

    He is also good to remind us that He does love us and everything He allows is for our good and for the good of others around us.

    Oh, btw, thank God for sisters, eh? :-)