Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick? or Treat?

It was Halloween, 1966 and the phone rang in the red brick house. The baby they had been waiting to adopt was now ready to be brought to them; would they like their daughter tonight? The woman was worried, she had a cold and was afraid this would keep them from bringing over the infant...So while cowboys, princesses and ghosts traversed the neighborhood in search of candy, Lee and Virginia Fisher became parents. And every Halloween for years my mom would tell me how I was their Halloween treat.

But this is the "happily ever after" part of the story.

What about the years previous to this joyous ending? What about the disappointment, frustration and angst of the almost twenty years that preceded it as they tried everything to have children? What about the cruel trick that kept them from becoming parents as their siblings had families of 3, 4, and 5 children already: when others carried new babies and they did not?

Our lives are suddenly thrown these seemingly cruel tricks, and there are health or financial or family or personal crises. Suddenly the carpet is yanked out from under you and you find yourself sitting on the floor going "what just happened?"; be it by a phone ringing in the middle of the night, a pink slip, an injury, an argument, an accident, or something just does not work no matter how hard you try.

What if your entire business was wiped out, the majority of your staff killed and your children crushed by a falling building? Your wife, overcome with the grief, lashes out and says you'd be better off dead too. Add to this a group of friends who come and, because they love to hear themselves talk, offer their advice and long discourses about what you've done to deserve these awful things that have happened to you...

See here another man who is so hated by his brothers that they have thrown him to the ground and as a mob stand around him with murder in their eyes until one brother steps up and says "Let's make some money off him instead. We can sell him as a slave." and suddenly he's tied to a camel, the property of strangers...

Here is a widow who is pulling out the last cup of flour and a drizzle of oil and carefully combining it, losing not a single bit, as she prepares to make one final small cake for her and her son. This is all the food there is, she can get no more, they will eat it and then wait to die and now there is a stranger at the door asking her for something to eat...

The man who lost everything says "But he knows where I am going.And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold." and then it turns out that "The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning" (Job 23:10, 42:12)

The man stripped of his freedom and sold into slavery now stands as a ruler in Egypt and says to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." (Genesis 50:20)

And the poor widow, who gives her last piece of bread to the prophet of God, discovers that she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. (I Kings 17:15,16)

When all we see is the trick in our lives we have to open our eyes of faith and cling to the fact that "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8,9) for we know that "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Our faith allows us to be confident that God knows what is happening in our lives and that He has a plan.

God knows what is his ultimate purpose is through the hard things that are happening to us. We have been promised that "God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." (Philippians 1:6) and that He is working all the things in our lives together for our good so that we will be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28).

So, this hardship in your life, is it a cruel trick?
Does it have the ability to become a treat?

Be confident and assured that God has not abandoned you.
In His time He will work out His purpose in your life.
Your faith will be affirmed.
He is worthy of our trust for "The word of the Lord holds true and we can trust everything he does" and we know that "to the faithful you (God) show yourself faithful" (Psalms 33:4, 18:25)

No matter what is currently in your pumpkin...

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