(9/19/2005 @ 6:33PM)
If something cost nothing, what is it worth?
This question keeps coming up to me when I ask God why. David wrote “I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing”1. Anything worth having costs us something. Money, time, energy, comfort, or convenience; everything that holds any value in this world costs us something. Conversely, something’s value is in direct correlation with how much it costs.
God has taught Beth and I that we are hypocritical when we claim to desire change in our lives and resist God’s method of change for our lives. Throughout scripture we are shown how God uses trials and pain to strengthen and fortify His people. We don’t pretend to enjoy the pain of the trials and testing, but we do welcome the lessons God teaches us through them.
We have closed on a house at 3109 Holly Haven Dr, Augusta, Ga, 30907. As we transition from vagabonds to homeowners; the lessons God has written on our hearts still race through our minds. The most prevalent one as things begin to wind down is “finish the race”. We are told in Hebrews to “run with patience the race that is set before us”2. I pray that God would continue to give us the endurance required to continue running this race. When I played football the coach would have us run until we felt as if our hearts would burst. At first I questioned the logic of training us this way; but when we were able to keep going when the other team was faltering and running out of energy I understood the value of endurance. The trials and testing God brings into our lives act the same for our faith.
I pray that throughout this time in Beth and I’s life, those of you who have been following our story would not look to us with pity or sorrow. Rather, I pray that you would be encouraged by God’s work that is being done in our lives. I also pray that when you would also learn to rejoice when God sends trails and testing into your lives.
Recently I was told of a meeting an American Christian leader had with a Chinese church leader in which the Chinese church leader told the American church leader that they were praying for persecution to come to the American church. It sounds harsh at first, but the Chinese leader is right. We have become complacent in our faith and have a warped view of God when we squirm and ask why when even the slightest bit of pain comes into our lives. How have we forgotten the lessons of the Bible and history concerning faith tested by fire?
Lord forgive us when we cheapen our faith to happy feelings and “religious experiences”. When we fall for the lie that we can profess to be followers of Christ and not expect a radical change in our lives as a result. God has called us into a relationship with himself, and He has to change our hearts and minds in order to prepare us for heaven. We are sinful and far removed from the righteousness that He intended us for. If God is as holy and righteous as we profess to believe; how arrogant we are to think He would accept us as we are and not change us into the image of Christ. Matthew speaks of a man who was caught in the wedding supper of the lamb without the proper wedding garments3. How horrible it would be to get to heaven and not be clothed in the robes of righteousness that God is trying to fit us for while we are still here on earth.