Monday, December 04, 2006

Tried in the Fire

While reading over at Writer...Interrupted, I was struck by the first thing on the Top Ten List for Writers. Patience. Here are some thoughts I jotted down.

My grandmother always told me that if I prayed for patience I would have tribulation, because tribulation worketh patience. However, David said: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me... and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I do believe the trying of our faith brings us patience. When we ask God to search us and try us -- to see if there be any wicked way in us that needs to be ferreted out, we are opening our hearts for him to do his spiritual surgery in our lives. And as we all know, sometimes recovery from surgery is painful. The end result is a healthier body. In other words, it helps us to survive. The tribulations we have may cut. They may make us uncomfortable for a season, but the time we spent alone with God in the Recovery Room brings sweet healing and inspiration.
I want my Recovery Room experience to bring about it's perfect work in my writing and in my life.

I think my grandmother was saying to be careful in what you ask God for, you just might get it. When asking for patience, we are asking for God to teach us. It is not up to us to question His methods. God allowed Job to be tried and found him to be faithful. When his wife in effect said, "Just curse God and go on and die already," she was short-sighted. She couldn't see the long-term benefits of this shaping of Job's life. God was not wanting to destroy Job. He wouldn't allow Satan to destroy him. God wanted to perfect Job. And Job was rewarded in the end. He learned some valuable lessons about God--and the folly of leaning to one's own understanding. His friends thought they knew what God was doing. His wife thought God had given up on them, and I'm sure Job sat in his ash heap and wondered, "God, what in the world are you doing?" But out of the ashes there came something beautiful as Job was perfected.

Did Job pray for patience at some point before all this began? Was that how it all got started? I don't know. I do know he was a righteous man. And that he surely wanted to please God. He knew he was being tried in the fire. Job 23:10 says, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
vs 14: "For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him." Job 42:10 "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends." Job's suffering was used to help bring the repentance of his friends, so that what Satan meant for harm only served to increase the kingdom of God. The funny thing about Satan is that he just can't accept that no matter what he does, he will never have the power that God has. His wits are no match for the Almighty's wisdom. He can never triumph.

I am encouraged today by the book of Job. If it's been awhile since you've read it, take time today. You will be inspired, blessed, challenged, and thankful.

No comments: