Thursday, January 12, 2012

When We Are Tested by God

Since we found out in August that we would be having a third child, we have been working towards putting our house on the market and moving into something a little bigger. Like most women--I would imagine, I have been super excited about the prospects of a new home even if it isn't brand new.  My husband purchased our home before we married and so I have never felt like this house has been my "home," so being a part of the decision-making process for a "new" place has made me a little giddy.  

But then last week, after starting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and putting together our budget, my husband pointed out the likely possibility that we couldn't afford to move right now. We don't have any debt (except the mortgage) and we live very modestly, but like everyone, we're feeling the strain of the economy and money just isn't going as far as it used to. I knew before he even said the dreaded words that we probably would be staying right here--at least for a little while--and I was, admittedly, heartbroken.  
After dropping our daughter off at Mother's Day Out--a luxury for my sanity--my eyes brimmed with tears. Thoughts of more space, rooms for each child, a larger kitchen, a nicer neighborhood, a bonus room for the kids' toys--all those extras, not "necessities"--loomed largely in my mind, and suddenly we were back to our three bedroom, 1,100 square foot house, a place that I still, after nearly five years here, reluctantly call home. [I'm ashamed to admit that I have never made much of an attempt to make our house a sanctuary for our family because I always thought (hoped) we would be leaving it soon.] Instead of feeling gratitude for what we had I was devastated. 

But just at that moment, tears streaming down my cheeks, God opened my eyes.  While stopped at a red-light, a young woman dressed neatly in a long denim skirt holding a cardboard sign reading "My family needs help!" was standing right outside my car window.  Usually, I am quick to turn a blind eye to people asking for money (something I really need to work on), but this girl stood out to me, and I knew I had to do something.  I pulled out my wallet and the wad of gift cards in my purse, rolled down the window, and handed her a small gift. Nothing much really.  But as I gave the money and gift card to the woman, I heard her praising God.  I wept.
Oh, my ingratitude!  To have a house to live in, to have food to eat, to have clean clothes to wear, to have so much, and yet I am always wanting more.  What right did I have to be upset?

Rembrandt's The Sacrifice of Isaac

As I think about the internal struggle I am going through, I know God is testing me.  He knows how I will respond; He knows the outcome.  But He's refining me to make me more like Him, and He will not stop until I am completely His. I have a long, LONG way to go, but I am grateful that I am loved by such a God who promises:
"...[God] will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

                                                      -I Corinthians 10:13

"'Never will I leave you nor forsake you.'"
                                                -Hebrews 13:5b
As our Bible study leader pointed out in her message yesterday, a refiner doesn't take his eyes off the silver in the furnace lest it be ruined, but he sits close by, watching very carefully so he can pull out the finished product at just the precise moment.  How does he knows when it's finished? When he can see his own reflection in the silver. So also when we are put to the test, God sits closely by us, watching and waiting until He can see His image in us. The process of refinement is painful, yet it is necessary if we want to be more like our Creator. 

Are you in the midst of a test or trial right now?  Trust in God's promises.  He will carry you through.  

I pray God's richest blessings on you!

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  1. Thanks for your comment at Obedient Beauty! We love your site...will be checking back in for more.

  2. Love this. Shared on my fb page. Thanks!

  3. Oh I wept for you, but also wept at the joy of a heart so focused on the Lord. I will pray for you a new home, but if it is not to be I will pray that your heart will be turned toward making your present house you home.

  4. Love this post. Something we all need to be reminded of on occassion.

  5. I so love your beautiful posts. We are in the same situation. We are in a small rental house that I "hate". We hoped to spend no more than 2 years here before moving and buying our own house. Due to some new things happening at my husband's job, we may be here much longer than expected. Instead of feeling frustration, I should feel blessed that we have oh so much.
    I also feel blessed that there is less to clean in a small house than in a large one. And since we are renters, we didn't have to pay for that new furnace or water heater! ;)