Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The best birthday ever

"Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. Great faith must have great trials." - Charles H. Spurgeon.

I struggled with whether I should post some of the details in this post lest anyone think I'm complaining. But, I will in hope that it will encourage you to share your faith no matter what, even in the midst of trials in your life.

In August of 2008, I had the privilege of attending an evangelism "boot camp" in Los Angeles. I came back with knowledge, experience, and a renewed passion. There is nothing like fellowshipping with 50 other believers over a week-end to make you truly realize that while scattered over the globe, we are united in the body of Christ. I returned with very practical experience and knowledge I had learned over that week-end and made friendships that, as I discovered shortly after my return, give me great encouragement in times of difficulty.

Three days after my plane landed, I experienced great turmoil with my side of the family when certain members of my family cut off all communication with us. But God is so good! I then developed health problems and discovered the I.R.S. believes we underpaid on our taxes from 2 years ago. God is so good! I had mentioned biblical evangelism means actually opening your mouth regularly to two people and never heard from these two people, whom I admired as a brother and sister in Christ, ever again as they distanced themselves from me. But, God is so good! My husband's business was dwindling and we were preparing for a difficult winter, but God is so good! We have great difficulty with one of our children whom God brought into our lives through adoption and the difficulty only escalated once I returned, but God is so good! Then over Christmas, on the date of our 18th anniversary, my husband's family severed all ties with us on that date in front of our children in a painful display of hurtful words and actions, but God is so good!

Only two weeks after the last difficulty, was my birthday. I guess the circumstances of the past 4 months started to get to me. I was a little wistful that day, but instead of sinking into some unChristlike funk, I just prayed, "God please allow me to share the Gospel with someone today. If it would please You, would You please give me a long conversation with someone and not just a tract experience?" I don't despise tracts, but I just wanted to share the Gospel.

I had made an appointment to get my hair done that day and God was so gracious. He allowed me to share the Gospel for 2 hours with a friend as she shared some difficulties she was experiencing with a loved one who believes he is saved but has no fruit in keeping with repentance. He has no real desire to read the Bible and also desires to give up whenever trial or difficulty comes his way. Believing that the loved one is a false convert, I was able to listen and share some godly counsel. I also was able to give her a copy of "Hell's Best Kept Secret" and a copy of the book Way of the Master. I encouraged her with things to ask this loved one and to share with them.

I walked out of there on cloud nine that day! I couldn't believe that I was able to share the Biblical Gospel with someone who appears to be a Christian, but whose loved one does not appear to be! She didn't know what to do. She is now equipped with the Biblical Gospel and was eager to go and talk with her loved one as soon as she could. God allowed me to have that time that day to speak the truth in love.

Even if, I got cancer again, had calamity strike my family, we lost our home, or my husband lost the ability to sustain our family with one income- GOD IS SO GOOD! His goodness is never predicated upon my circumstances. I thank the Lord for this difficulty and don't dare complain!

I have complained in years past, and realized that is sin! I am commanded to rejoice always and give thanks in every circumstance! In light of eternity, this present trial is really insignificant even if things got 1000 times worse. He is using this difficulty for my good as well as anything additional He desires. If I go around complaining like a whiney-hiney, I am denying that God's grace is truly sufficient to sustain me through whatever He graciously allows into my life. Besides, Jesus never complained as He was nailed to the cross for a blaspheming, idolatrous, Sabbath-breaking, murderous, adulterous, lying, thief like me.

I don't think for a minute that my trials are worse than anyone else's- there's always someone who has something worse happening to them. However, trials are difficult and I am human and if it weren't for the grace of God I don't think that I would be able to get up and have such joy in my heart.

If you are going through great difficulty or trial get your mind off of your trial and share the Gospel. When you walk in obedience, you'll never regret it. Be encouraged!


1 comment:

Chris Jones said...

You are an inspiration to me with your dedication to God! This post is one that I needed to hear because I'm working on attending the same boot camp as well with my wife. Your trials help me remind me that life isn't always a bed of roses, and that I am so much more blessed than I deserve. Reading what you've gone through since you stepped I'm sure way out of your comfort zone at the boot camp makes me even more determined to do what I feel God is calling me to do. Please keep doing what you're doing and know that there are fellow Christians like myself who look forward to reading about your walk as you blog it.

Thank you!

-chris