Sunday, June 7, 2015
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith (in God) produces endurance, patience and steadfastness. Let endurance, patience and steadfastness have its full effect that you may be people perfectly and fully developed, lacking nothing.
In the spring, it is time to visit the greenhouse after the long, bitterly cold winter. The colors and aromas of plants and flowers fill me with joy. I adopt a few and take them home. If I am wise, however, I will 'harden' them to get them used to living outside in the real world. Otherwise, when a cold night comes along, the plants will die. I make sure they get just the right amount of rain - not enough to drown them. I place them in the correct amount of sunlight, monitoring to make sure it is properly balanced for that particular plant. I am 'hardening' them so they can survive in the real world.
Do you notice that God does the same with us? He uses unique and individually chosen circumstances to 'harden' us for our lives in this world.
'Hardening' can come in the form of God allowing recurring infections or illnesses that just won't go away. Sometimes the washing machine, dryer, car, and the roof on the house all seem to break down at the same time, one after another. Sometimes 'hardening' can be relentless, discouraging and painful. We begin to fuss and fume.
Let's consider the truth - that nothing can come against us that hasn't passed through God's loving hands first. Yet, in His love, He must allow these things to 'harden' us so that, at the first sign of trouble, we aren't destroyed. His desire is for us to learn to live in this world to bring Him glory, even in our suffering, as we persevere and endure by His mercy.
What does He want us to do during a 'hardening' chapter of our lives? He wants us to turn to Him, to cry out to Him in our distress and to trust Him to send help in His perfect timing.
How are you doing with God's 'hardening' of you in your life? Are you fussing and fuming? Or are you looking to God for His help, trusting Him no matter how long it takes?
Heavenly Father, thank You that You love me so much that You gently 'harden' me as I walk through this world toward Home.
'Reflections of God's Glory' copyright 2014 Dawn Ulmer firstname.lastname@example.org