Potted Meat

29 Jan

“I’m thinking, today if I were a food, I’d be potted meat”. That was my Facebook entry for Friday morning. I don’t know if you ever have days like that, but I sure do. In fact sometimes I have entire weeks like that! I would love for my life to be as exciting and entertaining as a thirty minute sit-com. But the truth of the matter is that it’s normally like a long and drawn out documentary full of stuff that I’d rather not know about. Sometimes I wonder where that “life and life more abundantly” Christ promised is. While we may not feel very “churchy” talking that way, the fact of the matter is that we all go through spiritual and emotional valleys. If we ignore them, we deceive ourselves. If we embrace them, we can be strengthened. Everything we learn about God is not in the flowery fields of God’s summertime; some are in the frozen tundra of God’s winter. If we close our eyes during the trials of our life, we will miss much of what God has to teach us during our pilgrimage on this earth. Once when David was experiencing serious turmoil in his life he cried out to God “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). I think we’ve all been there. We want peace. We want escape. But we feel confined and agitated. So this month I want to encourage all of us that are crying out to God “Lord, get me out of this mess!”

I think the first thing we need to understand is that what looks and feels like a mess to us, is not really a mess at all. What Joseph’s brothers did to him looked like a mess, but for God it was an opportunity. The Jews in the wilderness for all those years looked like a mess. For God it was a time to prepare a people for Himself. The cross certainly looked like a mess. But in the end, it was the greatest manifestation of love we could ever know. If you know Christ, your life is not a mess. It just feels that way sometimes. Those unsavory circumstances in your life are just one of the ingredients in the recipe of your life. We need to understand that God has a plan for us. That plan is not to make certain that we are happy and satisfied every moment of our lives. It is to make certain that we are being conformed into the image of His Dear Son. You can’t make good biscuits without disgusting buttermilk. You can’t make a cake without raw eggs. And you can’t make a beautiful life without the undesirable circumstances of life. To leave trials out of our life is to greatly reduce the flavor of life God has for us.

We also need to understand that spiritual warfare is a reality. God has a purpose for our lives. Satan wants to destroy that purpose. Therefore, he has hosts of demons that are active around us. Paul reminded us in Ephesians 6 that the battle we face every day is a spiritual battle. Satan wants to get me and you to give up. If we give up, one of God’s tools is in the tool box and not on the job. Something happened to me when I was in college that I will never forget. One morning I woke up, spent some time with the Lord and began dealing with all the frustrations that life brings our way. In that moment God spoke to me very clearly. He showed me that Satan wanted to keep me from being what He wanted me to be. Then and there I decided anything that kept me from using my spiritual gifts, I would see as an attack from the enemy. It may sound simple, but that one truth has kept me going for many years now. Satan wants you to lie down. He wants you to stop. You can keep believing the gospel, he just wants you to quit living the gospel. If we respond to trials by running away from God’s service, we have fallen into Satan’s trap.

Finally, we need to understand peace is not the absence of strife; it’s the presence of God. It’s interesting how many times peace is mentioned in David’s cry found in Psalm 55:6. He wants to be like a dove, which is a bird that symbolizes peace. He wants to fly. There’s nothing more peaceful than soaring through God’s blue sky. He wants to rest. We are at peace when we are asleep. The problem is that David thinks that peace will be found if he could just be removed from his circumstances. That’s the way we usually think too. That’s not the case. If we find ourselves trembling and uneasy in the midst of a trial, it is not because we do not have peace. As believers we are filled with the peace of God by virtue of the Holy Spirit. Our problem is that we don’t have enough faith. Doubt dispels the experience of peace in our life. Peace is experienced in our life when we engage our faith. We have to trust that everything is alright because God is in control. We have to take up the shield of faith and quench the fiery darts of the devil. And finally we have to understand that peace is the presence of God. Think about this. If God is in your trials and you leave your trials then you have left God. God isn’t in our lives just to rescue us from all our tribulations. God is here to prove to us that He is greater than our tribulations. We prove that we trust in Him by remaining Christlike in the midst of trials. So the next time you feel like a can of potted meat, don’t ask God to open the can. Just thank Him that He’s in there with you.

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2 Responses to “Potted Meat”

  1. onewillbetaken January 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    I love this! Absolutely love it…too many of us want to just give up and move on, when the only real way out is to walk through the trials our loving Father allows in our lives. His grace is sufficient for us. Does that mean my trial does not hurt? Nope. But if we will turn to Him in faith, yielding to His will for us, I have found there is a solemn, sweet peace for me.

    At the end of every trial I have faced from the beginning of my walk with Jesus Christ, and through thirty more years, is that it was indeed good for me to be afflicted because I learned more about His truth, and about Him. It is an awesome thing to come to the place where we can say in honesty, “This is not what I wanted, but Father, I trust this is Your best for me.” He wants to take us from “when I am afraid I will trust in You” faith to “I am not afraid because I trust in You,” faith.

  2. Arch Grieve Jr February 26, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I can’t tell you how much I needed this today. Thanks for letting God use you to speak to me today.

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