Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God's Truth Convicts & Heals

I've been chafing lately under the storms of my life. Granted, I know perfectly well that my "storms" don't even begin to compare with those that are raging through others' lives. Not even close. At one time, that wasn't much help to me, but it is now. Now I realize that even though I may not be as tried as others at the moment, that doesn't diminish the hurt that I feel in the midst of the fire. But it does put things into perspective. So, while I smart over my own gashes & scars, I give thanks that they're not deeper & more lasting than they are, while praying for those whose wounds are very deep & lasting.

One trial after another has washed over me, & the cumulative effect has been for me to grow irritable, selfish, & unmerciful towards others. As only God can ordain things, He has chiseled at me with four successive writings in the last couple of days that have brought me up short. As a result, I have been humbled, made meek. I have been shown my own sin & folly & been sorely ashamed. Sorely ashamed &, yet, healed. I don't think we can really, truly take refuge in the Gospel until we've been brought face-to-face with how abominable our sin is.

The first was this post by my favorite new blog. She quotes from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening (July 11 morning entry). It so gripped my sore & hardened heart that I had to read it for myself in our copy. The most convicting part for me was:

     "But notice how this blessing of being established in the faith is gained. The apostle’s words point us to suffering as the means employed- “After you have suffered a little while.” It is of no use to hope that we shall be well rooted if no winds pass over us. Those old gnarlings on the root of the oak tree and those strange twistings of the branches all tell of the many storms that have swept over it, and they are also indicators of the depth into which the roots have forced their way. So the Christian is made strong and firmly rooted by all the trials and storms of life. Do not shrink then from the tempestuous winds of trial, but take comfort, believing that by their rough discipline God is fulfilling this benediction to you.

On the heels of this, came this article on Girls Gone Wise. As I read through different women whom I admire who have laid down their very lives for Christ, I was stabbed through the heart again. They laid aside cherished dreams and lived their entire lives in service to God out of love for Christ. And here I am, demanding my own comfort, complaining over a few little inconveniences & aggravations?! Disgusting!

     "When I study these women’s lives, I am astounded and inspired by their level of commitment to Jesus Christ. They didn’t just say He was their first love; they lived it. Whether they gave up their right to be married in order to serve Christ, or gave up the “happily ever after” lifestyle they’d always dreamed of, nothing was more important than protecting the honor of their Lord and King.

So it must be with us."

Not to be outdone, Michael read this to me from Foundations of the Christian Faith by Boice:

     "Self-denial should not be difficult for any Christian to understand for this is what it means to become a Christian. It means to have turned your back on any attempt to please God through your own human abilities and efforts, and instead to have accepted by faith what God has done in Christ for your salvation. . . .Living the Christian life is, therefore, only a matter of continuing in the way we have started." (pg. 461)

He, perhaps unwittingly, touched upon exactly that sore spot that God wanted him to touch. Here I've been demanding my own way, expecting certain loving treatment that I'm entitled to, & refusing to deny my own comfort for the sake of someone else. Then he reads this to me. Ouch.

And then, finally, I picked up my copy of Young Lady's Guide to the Harmonious Development of Christian Character by Harvey Newcomb & opened up to Chapter 4 entitled "Charity". I was immediately convicted, & when I read it aloud to Michael I burst into tears over this:

     "Charity suffers long. It will endure ill treatment, and prefer suffering to strife. It will not resent the first encroachments, but patiently bear with injuries as long as they can be borne. If charity reigns in your heart, you will consider how many and aggravated are your own offences against God, and yet that His long-suffering bears with your perverseness, and He is daily loading you with benefits; and shall you be impatient with the slightest offences from a fellow-worm? Consider, also, how liable you are to encroach upon the rights of others, and to try their patience by your infirmities. Do not, therefore, be hasty in the indulgence of hard thoughts of others, nor impatient of their faults and infirmities. How much contention and strife might be avoided by a little forbearance! And who is there so perfect as not sometimes to need it to be extended toward himself?" (pg. 49-50)

In harboring my sin, I've been so very blind. Thank you, Lord, for giving me sight & melting this cold heart of stone. Grow my roots deep, so that I can suffer long in love, deny myself, & weather the storms of life. Amen.


Blest Mommy said...

Thank you again for your encouragement and honesty. I love this post and your transparency. I am going to have to read the "girls gone wise" link. God has used you in my life as well!
Your Sister in Christ