Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Blows of Life

About twice a year my pantry gets a really good cleaning. I reorganize, consolidate, and eat (all part of the
 job) until it looks perfect.

Somehow I found three bags of opened flour. I decided to fit them all into a Christmas tin, but soon found out there was more flour than tin.

My first thought was so scoop off the extra flour and bake some cookies, but I thought it best to stick with the task at hand. So I set out to find a way to make the flour fit.

Then I remembered an old trick I was taught some time ago. I patted the sides of the canister. With each pat the flour inside settled a more. I beat the poor Christmas tin for a good five minutes until it all fit.

I sat back and admired my strong work when the realization of a spiritual correlation hit me: The blows of life are what it takes to settle us in faith.

In Colossians 1:23 Paul encourages us to "continue in faith, grounded and settled" in the hope of the gospel. 

Paul took more than his fair share of life's beatings--much of which were very literal. He survived stonings, beatings, ship wrecks, snack bites, isolation, prison, just to name a few. And yet, he understood that it is the blows which we receive in life that strengthen our faith, that settles us in our faith.

1 Peter 5 great advice is given to the flock of God. Among the list is to humble yourself, cast your cares upon Him, be sober and be vigilant because the adversary seeks to devour you (scary, but so true!). 

In verse 10 it says, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered for a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

The first part of this verse that struck me was after ye have suffered for a while. Life can be really difficult. We can feel like we are getting beaten on all sides. Sometimes we feel sore and bruised, hurt and tired. And we wonder why God let's it happen to us. But, here's where the last, and most important part, comes in: it is the way the He makes you perfect  and how He settles you.

 If we come to Him, He will not only consecrate our afflictions for good, but He will make us perfect through them!

I love when I can fine purpose in my pain! No one likes to hurt! But, when we take a step back and realize that the blows of life can have an eternal positive effect on us, it begins to make sense. We find a way, with God's help, to take the blows and turn to Him. 

We are like little imperfect mortals tins that, if left alone, are unable to accept and hold all that He has for us. But, we with every trial we face and endure, more of Him is settled in us. Through adversity--or more accurately, our responses in that adversity--we become more than we could on our own. We can do more, be more, hold more than if we had lived a life free from affliction and pain.

He gives purpose to the blows of life, and turns them from negative trials into what they should be: the way to settle our faith in Him, and in ourselves.

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