"Faith never prospers better than when everything comes against it,
for storms are its trainers and lightning its illuminator."
Don't zone me out when I say the word "sermon," but I had two that hit me really hard yesterday. And there are just a few things that I wanted to share from that:
1) "Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen (translated, "drawing near"). They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number." - Gen. 47:27
Goshen was also spared from all the plagues.
Sometimes God will place us in a hard place (an "Egypt") so that we will find the Goshen - the safe place, the refuge, the place of drawing near. And not only find it, but also thrive in it.
Okay, don't zone out yet, hang in there...
2) Genesis 25 tells the story of how Esau sold his birthright for momentary satisfaction. He gave up a ginormous inheritance because his hunger made him weak.
When we are hungry - spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally - we are weak. Don't give up your inheritance simply to fill that hunger.
It is far better to remain hungry than to give up, or lessen, the immense inheritance God has in store.
3) You can sell your birthright bit by bit with small compromise. It's all about the small choices.
Will I choose to be impatient with my siblings? Or will I allow this situation to create in me the marvelous characteristics of a mother, so that my inheritance as the bearer of the next generation may be bigger?
Will I choose to satisfy the void of a romantic relationship with flirting and flaunting? Or will I allow these desires to go unfulfilled, so that my inheritance in a life-long relationship may be purer and holier?
Will I choose to neglect my simply housekeeping responsibilities, nurturing my laziness? Or will I attack these responsibilities with joy, so that my inheritance as a servant of the King may be done more efficiently?
Will I allow my own fears and insecurities keep me isolated and inexpressive? Or will I allow God to use my explosive personality, listening skills and gifts of expression, so that my inheritance as His child may be greater?
The list goes on.
I have a great inheritance in the Kingdom through Christ; I know this. But I want my inheritance here on earth to be far greater than average. I don't want to be satisfied with scraping by with bits and pieces of spiritual encounters, and simply waiting until I die to know the Lord in His fullness.
And I know that He has a marvelous, beautiful, incredible inheritance to step into. I don't want to waste this time; I want to be ready to step into it every day, always ready, always prepared.
4) What my heart has to go through will not matter at the end of it all. Only that my King be glorified.
I think that finally clicked with me this weekend. Because every moment of suffering, every ounce of heartache, every longing unfulfilled all become worth it in light of glorifying Him. I may have to grit my teeth, and scream through the tears, but I will not be kept in misery.
"Adversity, afflictions, and suffering are gifts...
that fulfill the purposes of the Giver."