New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
Don’t make my mistake.
My parents walked through difficult days in their younger years, though as seniors, they were blessed financially.
In 1947, my parents made a financial gift to help ministry leaders purchase land, formerly owned by Hume Lumber Co., to start Hume Lake Christian Camp. They were surprised when told they had a 99-year lease on a beautiful lot where Cabin 14 stands today. Given their financial condition in the late 40s and three daughters at home, this was clearly a gift from God.
Each summer we camped across the lake. It was always an exciting time as we walked around the lake and up the hill to Lot 14. I remember standing on the lot dreaming what it would be like to have a cabin. Then I was jolted into reality as I heard mom and dad discussing whether to sell the lease and my sister and I begging them not to.
My parents were faithful tithers. Their entire lives they had a real heart for others. Sitting on the end of my parent’s bed while my mother dressed one morning, I noticed she was putting on something very old.
Me: I thought you were buying a new dress for teaching.
Mom: I was going to but Maria needed a sewing machine more than I needed a new dress.
I think I was only 8 or 9 but I sat in awe. The longing for things had already set into my heart, so I couldn’t fully understand how she could give up something she had so looked forward to buying for herself. Over the years, that memory has often come when a decision between self or others would need to be made.
Then, at retirement, God blessed my parents with unexpected income sources. This provision made it possible for them to build Cabin 14 in 1974.
That is where my mistaken reasoning began.
I was in my late sixties before I began to realize that just because I was driven to obey, and loved the Triune God with all my heart, it didn’t mean life would become easy.
Based on my observation of my parents’ life, the huge mistake I made was thinking that I could look out into the future and know that my senior years would be without suffering.
The trap of comparing ourselves to others is a huge mistake.
God will call some to live lives that seem much easier – when we see someone suffering we cannot do as Job’s friends did and assume it is due to sin. Maybe it is, but we cannot assume that. God has called each of us to play different roles in His story.
It’s important that I remember it’s His story, not mine.
When life is hard, comparing ourselves to others hurts us.
We all do it.
When was the last time you compared yourself to someone who had a much more difficult life than yours? We usually compare ourselves to those who have it easier.
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.
1 Peter 3: 17
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
… and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Understand only God knows what tomorrow brings.
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee and imagine you are sitting with me as we chat right now.
Don’t make my mistake!
I truly believed because the Triune God had walked me through so much pain in my younger days that I had paid my “dues.” Pretty stupid huh?
Now realize – through part of my younger suffering days, my husband Joe was on staff with Open Doors with Brother Andrew. I went to China and sat in a family kitchen as the mother told us about her eleven-year-old son having been beaten to death. Why? He refused to renounce Jesus.
I stood in a kitchen in Havana, Cuba listening as a wife/mother sobbed, telling us how the week before she was ready to give up and had cried out to Jesus in desperation – ready to flee from Him.
- Why didn’t I grasp there was no way I could know what God had planned for me?
- Why did I stubbornly think that God would put a limit on the amount of suffering He had for me?
- What about those who are born with a crippling disease, especially those who carry pain with them their whole lives?
- What about those born into poverty and are never shown a way out?
- The list is endless of ways God has granted (Phil. 1:29) individuals to suffer.
What’s the result of my faulty reasoning?
I wasn’t spiritually or emotionally prepared for where God was going to take me, causing me to suffer more because my heart and mind weren’t prepared.
Are you willing to walk wherever God takes you? You can call out as Jesus did, “And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 ESV)
If that is the walk you want to have with the Triune God, here are some beginning steps:
- tell Him you are willing
- ask Him for desire and strength to do whatever He asks
- He knows your heart – ask Him to prepare your heart and mind for wherever He takes you
- if you haven’t started, begin now talking to Him continually throughout the day about everything
- when in the midst of times that are unbearable, say with love and pleading – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus – over and over and over
- stay focused on the truth that you will one day be at HOME with the Triune God
- no matter what, cling to Jesus!
I SURRENDER This is a song of surrender to our Lord. Close your eyes and let the Lord speak to you as you listen to the words.
“I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50 ESV) Jesus has experienced distress also. He understands. There is a purpose for the path He has you on.
Let’s “chat” with one another via the comment section so others may join us. We can minister to one another as the Triune God brings glory to Himself on this earth.
If you have something that can’t be shared openly, write me at email@example.com
The next page: Stripped Emotionally Naked! Then Abandoned!