There's a gap. So often I don't live out the things I say I believe. I know that trials of different sizes come into my life to help me grow, but many times I live as if I expect God to ‘fix’ all of my problems. Sometimes I pout. Can anyone relate?
After a challenging evening in our church youth program last night, I returned home to find that my once light-beige living room carpet was now decorated with mod splashes of mango nail polish. It was an accident. My daughter, Riley, hadn’t realized that the cap to the nail polish was loose. When she reached for the bottle, the applicator remained in her hand, while the bottle slipped to the floor leaving a tell-tale trail of orange nail polish. At first, I was too shocked to speak.
We tried our cure-all for carpet stains, Nature’s Miracle. Coming highly recommended from our pet store, it has removed just about any kind of stain imaginable, from those little ‘surprises’ our cat leaves behind, to ink from a dry-erase marker. The stuff is truly incredible. Surely it would do its thing and return my carpet to normal! But it didn’t…not this time.
Anger began to set in as I realized the nail polish on my carpet was here to stay. I couldn’t believe how careless Riley had been. I let her know I was none too pleased. I told her how expensive it would be to replace the carpet. New carpet was definitely not in the budget.
As my blood pressure began to return to normal, I realized that I had a choice. Learn from this little trial or remain angry. It truly was an accident, preventable, but an accident none the less. The relationship I have with my daughter is far more important than the attachment I have to my carpet. Family trumps ‘things’ every time!
Although the stain is a permanent reminder of this trial, we both came away with lessons learned. Riley, determined to be more careful. Me, determined to keep my mouth shut until I can speak the truth in love and not anger (Ephesians 4:15). In both of our cases, God’s truth was evident. He is much more concerned about bringing glory to Himself and changing us, than solving all of our problems.
When I look back on the trials I’ve experienced in life, I can identify them as the times that I’ve grown the most. Not that I’m asking for trials, but the faithfulness of God is clearly seen during seasons when I’m focused solely on Him. He is always faithful, I’m just not always mindful of His faithfulness. If I never experienced a trial, I’m afraid I wouldn’t realize my desperate need for His guidance and direction. Words from the book of first Chronicles put everything into proper perspective, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11; KJV).
How wise I am when I choose to live with the knowledge that there are things in my life that need to be changed. I haven’t arrived yet. I’m a work in progress. Therefore, God is not going to ‘fix’ all of my problems. Each problem is necessary to spur on the transformation process that draws me one step closer to being conformed to the image of Christ.
Can you think of a trial that drew you closer to Christ? I’d love to hear about it, after all, we’re on this journey together!