by Lisa Leidenfrost
What happens when life goes in a direction that you don’t want it to, that wasn’t supposed to happen to you? You have to yield your ideal of what you had wanted for your life and give it to God, offer it up as a sacrifice to Him. Then leave it there, release it.
Of course there will be a mourning period of what you had wanted but after the mourning, comes acceptance of the new state because it is now God’s will. What if you made a mistake? Well, confess it and roll it onto His shoulders to let Him now bear it. It is His now and the situation at hand is now God’s will for you. He can assume your mistakes and carry them, just like He assumed your guilt at the cross and set you free. Now you must look to Him to know what to do.
And when you yield to His will, mistake or not, you know that there will be a blessing in it somewhere. You can watch how, in His wild hands, He can turn those ashes back into beauty Isa. 61:3) of a different kind, a richer kind, that has his finger prints all over it. Only He can do this, and you can only get it if you yield it all to Him.
How do you do this?
You have to think of things differently. When a huge trial is handed to you do you think: “How can you do this to me? Why are you being so cruel? Have you forsaken me? Do you care? Or do you think, “Whew, this is going to be rough, but I know I’ll get more of God now and that will be worth it. I am looking forward to that.” The way you view things is a choice that you make and it is made based upon How you view God and how you view yourself in God.
A New Way to Think of suffering
Sometimes ashes must exist before beauty can come. Let me give you a few examples from normal life:
Childbirth — the pain, but then you get the child.
Child rearing — all the sacrifice, but then you get a beautiful young adults.
Weddings — the parents suffer when they let their child go, but then you get a new household and grandchildren!
Fighting for a just cause — and winning the result.
The author of an autobiography who suffered — but then you get an inspiring story that touches the hearts of many.
Slaving in the kitchen — a wonderful meal, and we get fed.
Missionary work —light given to a lost people
Pain and suffering leading up to and including death —but then you wake up in heaven
The ultimate was Jesus’s death on the cross but then we are given everlasting life
“Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” Is 53:4b
None of the above would have happened without the initial suffering.
So why is your suffering any different? — That it was imposed on you and not a choice? Can’t God work with even that? Isn’t it more special that He chose you? Wouldn’t it make you feel better if you knew that your suffering wasn’t in vain? That something beautiful would result? Only God can do that and you’re His child. And He actually promises that in Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” And His purpose is that God writes comedies and not tragedies. The end is glorious even though the getting there is hard.
This is our God:
Is 61:1 “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;… to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
This is how love works, you give Him your life and He gives you your life. And one of the things He exchanges is giving us beauty for our ashes. So when everything seems like it has fallen apart or there is no hope, God is the One who raises beauty out of the ashes in our hand, and where His beauty is, blessing results.
I could view my own life in two entirely different ways:
Wow, what rotten luck, not only do we go through a war and lose so much, and right on the heels of that, even in the midst of the last trial I have to suffer in another severe trial where ten years would be taken out of my life with intense suffering and relative isolation, and to top that, when I finally do get better, instead of enjoying some much needed rest without trial, we go straight into a new big whammy, my own daughter goes down with MS with what we thought was a bleak future. The very daughter who took care of me so valiantly during my crisis. Some thanks that is to her by God.
(attitude #2 — same situation)
Wow, is God watching out for us. He got us out of Africa to the States, via a war, where we needed to be to even identify Noai’s MS and get the right treatment which is not available in Africa. And to help her with the devastating emotions that come with such a prognosis, He put me in first through ten years of intense training on how to handle trial and suffering so that I would be ready to help her in her need. Isn’t He good?
When you suffer, not only is God working on your heart to form it to be more like Christ, but other people are watching. How do you know that someone later on down the line won’t be needing the exact lessons that you are learning now, to be able to get through their own trial that would be too much for them if they didn’t have your example? How do you know that God didn’t put you through first, out of love not only for you, but also for those who would follow? Learn to see things differently. As difficult as it is, when we put our hand in His and ask us to mold us to His image, the process is often grueling, but precious metals and gold are the result. A gold that shines because the dross has been burned off.
Which way are you going to think? If you can’t see it now, does that mean the blessing doesn’t exist or you just can’t see it yet? Why don’t you trust Him where you can’t see, and just hold on to who you know He is? That He is good and that He loves you and that He is for you by working all things for good. And that will carry you through. Whenever you don’t understand, always go back to what you do know.
Rutherford, “I would rather be sick and have Christ come to the chambers and say ‘comfort’ than to not have known that at all.”
Courage. It is a privilege to be chosen for such an undertaking. Don’t waste it by fighting against God.