I have heard it said that man’s disappointments are God appointments. I have heard people say that man’s coincidences are God instances. How can life’s stumbling blocks become wonderful stepping stones? How can onerous obstacles be transformed into effortless opportunities? I believe it depends on the attitude of a Christian’s heart.. and the choices he makes in his the human conscience. I believe it’s through a Christ-centred approach rather than a self-centred life.
It seems the word of God is full of antonyms and seeming contradictions, for instance, Paul tells us, “For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” and: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”. Luke 9:24. How can this be? How can we “count it as joy when we fall into various trials”? How can God take the negatives and transform them into glorious positives? How can we possibly thank God for our trials and for life disappointments? How can our hearts be unfeignedly thankful for life’s deep embarrassments?
We would all prefer glorious green and verdant pastures, but God sends us thunderclouds and distressing disasters instead, and we are in anguish that God should so treat His own children! But such anomalies are God’s amazing methods to prepare us for future service. Such absurd contradictions are the moulding tools He uses to train His children.
God gives us “treasures of darkness” to prepare us for jewels of light, and He leads us through the valley of the shadow into His own place of peace and rest. We would never guess that His best treasures are hidden in deep distresses, and yet we are often required to walk the path of pain and perplexity, with no explanation and a heart that would fain but break. Yet the valley gives time for reflection to enable us to draw close to Him. God wants each of His children to recognise His sovereignty and our own lack.
Sometimes He removes life’s carpet of flowers and pools of great joy, replacing them with insurmountable barriers to our own pain and chagrin. He places us in deep darkness so we can see His radiant star. He breaks our hearts to anoint us with His love. The perfume within Mary’s broken bottle never smelt so sweet and fragrant as when poured over the head and feet of the Beloved – a body prepared for burial – so that you and I could live.
And He breaks our legs as did the kindly shepherd to the little straying lamb, so that He Himself can find us and gather us up in His loving arms: and carry us on His shoulders. Luke 15:5 So that He can clothe us with the ornaments of meekness and a quiet spirit. He does this to prevent our foolish hearts from self-dependence: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Cor.12:10
Don’t seek to break down the divine barriers erected for your training. Don’t allow moral, intellectual, or spiritual insanity to drag down these obstacles. These are obstacles that are strewn in your path, to perfect you in Christ. He who began a good work in you will continue until you are like Him.” Phil.1:6
Don’t rebel before your spiritual progress is completed. Don’t kick against the pricks or you may forgo what He desires to teach you. Don’t seek to circumnavigate the slow, steady, majestic, difficult way He’s planned – do not weep.
Burdens and barriers in our path are used by a Holy God - a Heavenly Father. May we all accept His clouds and mysteries as He leads us into His paths of peace – until we see Him as He is. As Job said: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my spiritual eye of understanding sees You. Job 42:5
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