Have you ever heard that God has an incredible sense of humor? It never fails that when I'm considering some spiritual concept, have some spiritual revelation or especially if I'm supposed to teach or write something about a spiritual principal - I'm tested in it.
Well, today I've been finishing up my "Botany Co-op Manual." With every lesson I include a short devotion the co-op teacher can read to the kids. I was writing one today on suffering and how Christians grow through suffering. I included Bible verses about thanking God for our trials. You know, they produce in us incorruptible good, so therefore, we should thank God for the trial. I didn't write about, but thought about the times in my life when I applied this principal - when I walked the walk, if you will. When my marriage was failing, I thanked God, trusting it was part of His perfect plan - He later restored and blessed my marriage. When I had cancer, I thanked God and trusted that whatever His will was, it was perfect. He later healed me, but I was willing for whatever He willed.
It seems sometimes that it's easier to walk out spiritual principals during the big piercing trials. It's in the little pin prick trials that we forget. Just this summer, my daughter didn't get a good part in a play. I counseled her to thank God for not getting the part. Then, the very next day, I wrecked my brand spanking new car (which I had waited an enormous number of years to get). As I was driving away from the scene, I remembered my counsel to my daughter. It hit me like a ton of bricks. So, I stuttered out a thank you to God for wrecking my car. Something miraculous happened after I did. It was like the power of this material thing over me melted away. It's not that I didn't care - but I no longer cared in a way that was unrighteous and full of self pity. Anyway. The amazing way that God works in our hearts when we thank Him for our trials is nothing short of a miracle. It's our way of saying, "I trust You. I trust that You have Your hand on every event and circumstance in my life. And I trust You with everything."
Okay, so here I am, fondly ruminating about this lofty spiritual concept. I even considered posting a blog about it. Then, I click print because I really need to read a hard copy of this Botany Co-op Manual in order to edit it. Clicking print reminded me that I busted my printer the other day when it fell over. My printer printed about four pages before it jammed. About as irritated as I could be, I cleared the jam. It printed a few more pages, then jammed. GRRRRRRRRR. Clear, print, jam, grunt. Clear, print, jam, grunt. Clear, print, jam, grunt. I'm...well, not feeling very godly at this moment. I mean, if one of my children happened into the room to ask me to do something for them - well, let's just say they would have ended up doing a mountain of laundry instead. I'm fuming with every jam wondering how much a new printer will cost. Then, suddenly, it hits me. My whole mindset today was on thanking God for trials. I almost laughed out loud as I cleared the last piece of jammed paper, thanking God for His sense of humor and my printer problems.
"Thank you God that I'm learning to be patient by thanking you in the midst of trials. Thank you God that You use everything, nothing is wasted, in Your efforts to make me like You. I trust You God that having a broken printer is more valuable to my faith than having everything work out perfectly in my life. I believe that You allowed this because you intended to use it for my good - which will result in inexpressible joy to me."
Isn't joy and peace the happiness which we seek? Indeed, it doesn't come when all our plans go perfectly. It comes in spite of our plans failing, when we trust that God was in it. It is astonishing how in an instant the power that printer's issues had over me completely vanished. I believe God's command that we give thanks in all things isn't really for Him; it's for us. We are the beneficiaries. He, our Great Benefactor. Oh, what a God we serve.
"You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith--more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. " 1 Peter 1:6-9