The story is told of a young boy who made a toy boat and then went to sail it on a pond. While he was playing with it along the water’s edge, the boat floated out beyond his reach. In his distress he asked an older boy to help him. Without saying a word, the older child picked up some stones and started to throw them toward the boat.
The little boy became upset, for he thought that the one he had turned to for help was being mean. Soon, though, he noticed that instead of hitting the boat, each stone was directed beyond it, making a small ripple that moved the vessel a little nearer to the shore. Every throw of the stone was planned, and at last the treasured toy was brought back to his waiting hands.
Have you ever considered the possibility that the trials going on in your life are God throwing rocks your direction to redirect you in another way? Is it possible the ripples you are experiencing are carefully directed by Him to push you in the way He wants you to go for your own well-being? Consider that today. Paul wrote: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
Tags: direction, trials, trouble
Its pleasantly relaxing to sit around a campfire and listen to the crackle of burning wood. I enjoy the smell of wood smoke, as long as its not in my eyes. I think most men find that calming and enjoyable.
I’ve noticed a strange thing happen in wood fires, though. On occasion, an eerie whistle may come from the depths of an inflamed timber. It can sound like a chirping bird, although no birds chirp in the dark. Where does that pleasant sound come from? Is it the echo of songbirds from long ago when that tree was a sapling?
No, we understand that the sound comes from escaping gases from deep within the wood itself. Yet, there may be a great spiritual lesson for each of us in that whistling sound. Perhaps it should remind us that in troubled times in our lives there should always be a song in our hearts. As a matter of fact, there has been no sweeter sound to God than my hurting heart’s cry to Him. It may sound sadistic, but God loves to hear our outcry to Him in times of trouble. And that broken cry for help moves His heart to respond.
Tags: fire, prayer, trials, trouble
There is a computer printer company in Colorado that puts each printer through a rigorous test. First, they freeze them, then heat them to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and finally shake them violently for fifteen minutes. This testing is the final stage in a process called “ruggedization,” which prepares an ordinary printer for use by the military. With its circuit boards secured and all components enclosed in a metal case, the printer is thoroughly tested to make sure it will work on the battlefield where lives and success depend upon it.
Perhaps you’ve been experiencing a little ruggedization in your own life. God Himself arranges difficulties in our lives to develop character for the long haul. People who strive for comfort never develop this ruggedness.
James puts it like this: “Count it all joy…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3).
Tags: overcomer, trials, trouble
You might remember Dave Dravecky, who pitched with amazing success for the Dan Diego Pirates and the San Francisco Giants baseball teams. His pitching arm developed an unusual soreness. Medical tests identified the problem – cancer. Surgery and months of rehabilitation followed.
Then, after pitching for a time in the minor leagues, Dave made a widely applauded comeback to the majors. But in Montreal, as he was delivering a pitch, his arm snapped.
The cancer had not gone away. To save his life, doctors removed his arm and much of his shoulder. A committed Christian, Dave didn’t wallow in self-pity. Dave’s comments for all of us were: “There is no struggle about feeling sorry for myself. The question is not, ‘Why me, God?’ The question is, ‘What is Your plan for me?’…I see this as God giving me the opportunity to share the gospel with a lot of people.”
Don’t wallow in self-pity. Ask the right question.
Tags: baseball, question, trials, trouble
Jesus often had Pharisees and scribes attempt to trap Him in His words. They were intentionally trying to prove Him wrong. But, some people may attempt to do that with Christians simply because they do not understand the faith.
For example, during a television interview, David Frost once asked former president George H. W. Bush how he could square his belief in a loving and all-powerful God with the miseries and injustices of life. Frost reminded Bush of the time he shed tears at the sight of starving children and of his grief when his own daughter had died.
President Bush said, “It never occurred to me to blame God for that.” He insisted that the Lord has provided enough food for everyone, but that starvation occurs because of human greed and ineptitude. The President said that his daughter’s illness had drawn the family closer to one another and to God. He was comforted because he knew that she had been caught up in the arms of her loving heavenly Father.
Are you prepared to respond to criticism of your faith?
Tags: Bush, trials, trouble, words
One of the best read Christian books is In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon. Written in 1896, it may have earned less money for the author than any other bestseller in history. The book was first published by a Christian weekly magazine. The magazine’s publisher failed to meet copyright regulations, so Sheldon lost legal ownership of the book. Scores of publishers then sold millions of copies, and the author couldn’t claim any roalties.
Forty years after Charles Sheldon “lost” his book, he said, “I am very thankful that owing to the defective copyright, the book has had a larger reading on account of the great number of publishers.”
We must see failure through God’s eyes. Perhaps He has something in sight that we do not. It may be that a closed door for you is an open door for something or someone else. We need to stop belly-aching over the failure and get back in the game.
Tags: disappointment, failure, trials, trouble
During the North African campaign of World War 2, some German troops became detached from their source of supplies in the desert. With their throats parched by the intense desert sun, they were overjoyed when they found a newly constructed British waterline. Shooting it full of holes, they fell on their stomachs and began gulping furiously.
But they realized something too late – the British had been testing the pipeline with salty seawater. Within 24 hours all of the Germans were dying of thirst. Recognizing the severity of their situation, they quickly surrendered.
How does God get us to quickly surrender? I believe sometimes he permits us to go too far, to get too much, and to experience deep failure. He permits this so we will turn to Him. Its a strategy that works well with hard heads like us.
Jesus taught a parable in which He said, “Go out…and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:21).
Tags: thirst, trials, trouble, World War II