March 20, 2019 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
On Tuesday morning around 5:50am I received an alert from the National Weather Service for a Tornado Warning. It came with the instructions to seek shelter and move to a basement if possible. Being the over protective dad that I am, I left my home office and went upstairs. I woke my children up and moved them downstairs. We all sat quietly in the dark for the next half hour or so, and that is when I prayed.
I’ll be honest, I was annoyed, and so I had to do a little repenting. The alert and instruction interrupted my morning routine. I’m not a big fan of change. You know that – my hairstyle hasn’t changed in at least fifteen years. I don’t like change.
God was kind to work in my grumpy heart. He helped move me from grumbling to gratitude. It is kind of him to give me a wife and children to love and protect. It is kind of him to give me (us) a place of shelter. So I prayed in the dark and gave thanks to God for my wife and kids as they rested. He has placed them in my life to make me more like Jesus, and I need to remember that daily, even hourly. I appreciate what Steve Hoppe said in his book, Sipping Saltwater, about this. He wrote:
God puts people in our lives to sharpen us. He uses people to make us holy – to craft us into those who emulate him inside and out.
He gives us spouse to expose the selfishness that would otherwise go hidden in singleness. He gives us children so we’ll grow in patience, perseverance, and peacemaking. He gives us bullies to show us how to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). He gives us awful bosses so we’ll learn how to submit to authority even when we want to run (Romans 13:1-5). He gives us abrasive and antagonistic Bible-study members to push us to love those who are difficult to love. He gives us the poor to teach us generosity, and the rich to teach us contentment. He gives us pastors to point us to God when our hearts are hard, our prayers are sparse, and our faith is weak.
God puts people—allies and enemies—in our lives to transform us into people who think and act like Jesus. To make us into people who pour out compassion, warmth, servitude, and empathy. People who love not only those who love us, but those who hate us as well. People who mirror the only person who—like a Cutco knife—never need to be sharpened.
My encouragement to you is this: view every person in your life as a gift. View the good ones—those who make you laugh, support you in your suffering, and fill you with joy—as gifts. But also view the bad ones—those who make you cry, abandon you in your suffering, and cause you anxiety—as gifts.
Why? Because both sets of people have been hand-planted by the fingers of God to change you. To make you better. To make you holier.
To mold you into a Jesus look-alike.
[Steve Hoppe, Sipping Saltwater: How to Find Lasting Satisfaction in a World of Thirst (S.I.: The Good Book Company, 2017), 131-32.]
May God give us the grace to see what he is up to in our lives as he is using people who have been “hand-planted” by him.
Warmly in Christ,