Friday, September 12, 2014

Hug That Ugly Gift

Ever feel like God has offered you up to Satan to be tested like Job? Is that pity party turning into an all-nighter...or all-weeker...all-monther? For the life of you, you just can't figure out what you have done to deserve the series of unfortunate events lately. It's like salt being rubbed into a wound. Or maybe it's just one thing...that one thing you intentionally asked God NOT to let happen...and He did. Or that ONE thing you have asked for...and He said no. "Does He hate me?", you ignorantly ask. 

If I really knew Him...really understood His ways...that question would never be asked. The pity party might still happen on occasion, just long enough to call a cab, grab my shoes and get out of that place before I do something I regret. Even Job, a righteous man, questioned repent of it later...after being reminded of His power and wisdom.

There is a gift from God we are given on occasion. A gift that no one else can give and and that benefits us in a way nothing else can. It is a grace...undeserved and valuable. It is uncomfortable grace. Unless you are the type that doesn't mind settling, that is content with good enough and has no ambition to chase Jesus and become as close to Him as possible, you really should consider embracing this gift. Gird up your loins and prepare yourself for life's harsh lessons. They are going to happen anyway, why not go into them ready, willing and able by God? Take them by surprise and turn the mourning into dancing. Resist the temptation to chase comfort and go after the treasure buried beneath the pain. I am told by those older any wiser than me, that it gets easier every time, because you get used to God grabbing your hand on the way in, sometimes even carrying you over his shoulder, covering your eyes and vital organs. You may come out with bruises or even lose a limb, but your heart is bigger. Stronger. Shared by Him whose broke for you one day.

As Paul Tripp explains this grace..."It takes you somewhere you did not intend to go in order to produce in you something you could not achieve on your own." The problem is, we don't recognize this grace because it is prickly. It's not wrapped and tied in pretty paper and a fancy bow. It appears ugly, harsh and it stinks. it is avoided and fought against. If I open my eyes and see what is really there, I may accept it, even go to it willingly. Go through it with anticipation and courage. Come out of it definitely, because He promised, with that precious gift...personalized...treasured and worth the pain.Yes, someone may be salting your wound, but salt heals and protects. 

Turn the pity party into a surprise party. Surprise yourself by reacting to trials in a grateful, humble and positive way. Let no complaint leave your mouth...why should we complain about a gift? Even if it's not what we asked for. Remember those times you gave a gift to your child and they were unappreciative? They didn't see the value. They had their heart set on something else. They didn't trust your judgement and their face and words revealed their heart's desire. Your weak and faithless heart may look up to the Father filled with question marks, but He already knows our lack of understanding. That's ok, as long as we trust and are willing to obey. Hug that ugly gift and wait for the blessing. 

God is always good, always wise and always doing what is best for you...not necessarily comfortable...but best.

Psalm 141:5 "Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it."

Job 13:15  "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him..."

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