Sunday, January 31, 2010
This morning in F.U.S.E, our youth ministry at church, my brother Kirk, had one of the kids (sorry Ross, I know you're not a kid, but that's what I'm gonna use okay!? Love you!) preach on something that God had laid on his heart. The message Ross gave blessed me immensely and basically....changed my life and the way I look at hardships. : )
Recently, Ross was making peanut brittle. Apparently, the deal with peanut brittle is that in order for it to get to the point where it is hard, the ingredients have to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything less than that and you'll either be drinking sweet peanut soup or have some goopey peanut nastiness on your hands. The point is....until it gets hot enough to stand firm...it's easy changed and pliable. God showed Ross that until you are ready and willing to go through some heat to get hot enough to stand firm...you're not going to be able to stand for anything.
So, my brother then asked, what would happen to a human at 300 degrees Fahrenheit? There were some pretty gross (and accurate I'm sure) descriptions of what would happen to a human body if the insides reached 300 degrees Fahrenheit. But what it all boils down to....pun intended...is that a human would die at such high temps.
Water boils slowly. It starts off at room temperature and slowly builds until it's boiling. God doesn't bring us to situations that He hasn't prepared us for. The key is, we have to be willing to fight the battles that God calls us to or we will never become prepared for the bigger things. God starts us off at room temperature and builds us up until we are on fire. Are you willing to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit and die to your ideas about life and your own way of living or run away out of fear because you can't take the heat?
Just like the peanut brittle, when we start our walk with God, we are going to be faced with some heat. As we make it through eat situation, the temperature gets a little hotter. Until we are willing to catch on fire for God, we will be easily swayed and redirected. I don't want to be peanut soup or a gooey mess....I want to be strong and stand for something that is worth dying for. Sound a little romantic, maybe even crazy!? Good....that's what I'm goin' for.
Then Kirk talked about King David. King David wasn't born a King. He wasn't born into royalty. He was a shepherd that protected his father's sheep. While protecting his father's sheep he came up against some pretty unreal stuff. He had to fight a bear and a lion in order to protect his sheep. He could have run and let the bear or lion get the sheep, but instead...he protected them. Who would miss a few sheep here and there? But what mattered to David's father, mattered to David. All the trials and hardships that David had to go through prepared him for the day he fought Goliath. No one would stand up and fight the giants, but God had already shown David that he can do anything with the strength of God. So David stepped up to fight Goliath with the knowledge that God had been raising him up and preparing him for a moment such as this. After David killed Goliath, David's friends and other witnesses went out and killed giants too. So, when you fight, you aren't just fighting for yourself. You are fighting so that other people can witness that winning is possible. Miracles do happen. Even when we think we are going to be the only one's standing up to fight, we are sometimes surprised who is willing to stand next to us once we have the guts to get our butts up off the seat. David kept facing the heat and fighting the good fight....and God took the humble shepherd and made him a King. God is no respecter of persons...what He did for David, He will do for you. No joke.
Have you ever been in a situation where you know in your gut that you need to stand up and say something and you think everyone is going to look at you like you're crazy, or get mad because you're rocking the boat? I mean, you literally start to actually feel hot. You have something burning inside you that needs to get out. I feel like I find myself in situations all the time where God is giving me the opportunity to face the heat and stand up for what's right. It's my decision as to whether I am going to risk saying or doing something that people won't like or if I am going to keep my mouth shut so that I can just blend in and not rock the boat. If I pass up the small things, then why would God ever give me something bigger? There have been situations (many, actually) in my life where I didn't realize that I was in a bad situation until I was right in the middle of it. It's like waking up in a bad dream. When you find yourself in a place where you are heading away from God's path, even if you didn't mean to, there is no time to waste. Get your big girl boots on and get ready for a fight. In order to follow God, you are going to have to fight to stay on the path.
My life has been a battle. It still is. Even when I was a kid I had hard battles to fight. And even though the battles changed as I grew, the fight didn't get any easier. Looking back to that little girl from where I am now....it is truly a miracle of God. People that know me now would probably never guess my struggles, but I know that is the same for everyone. I'm happy that people don't look at me and see a battle torn person. My scars have been healed. What shows now is the light of God and that's all that matters. The simple fact that I am here to write this just shows me that God has big plans for me. My success isn't going to be measured in money, things, and job titles...my success is going to be measured by how I live my life for God.
Is life hard right now? Feeling like you are being handed lemon after lemon? Feel like crawling back into bed and pull the covers over your head and hope that the situation miraculously resolved itself? Does life seem unfair? Do you feel like you can't go on? Do you feel the heat?
You know what God tells us to do when we find ourselves facing trials of many kinds????? He tells us to REJOICE!
Why would we rejoice when life sucks!???? That's because when you are facing hardships and trials, this is just a confirmation that God is preparing you for something greater. Think of hard things you've made it through in the past. When you were going through it, you probably wished and prayed that you wouldn't have to, but looking back...aren't you glad that you did it!? You are stronger now. If you were faced with the same situation again, you would have knowledge on how to get through it. Do you see how that hard situation has shaped you? God loves us too much to leave us as gooey peanut soup that can't stand up against the things that come at us in life. That is why God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. Whatever you are facing right now...guess what....God knows you can do it. You may think you're not strong enough, other people might think you're not strong enough, but God KNOWS that you are or you wouldn't be there. You can't compare yourself to others, the battles that you face are going to be different and you are going to fight them differently than anyone else. The point is to keep fighting. Surround yourself with faithful warriors that will help you hold your sword and shield when they get too heavy. You may not feel like a warrior, but if you are facing hard times in life...believe me...you are. And never forget Who is leading you into battle...God.
It's like lifting weights. If you haven't been training and strengthening your muscles and then you just walk up and try to bench a bunch of weight...you're going to get hurt and you're going to be crushed by the weight. Sometimes we find ourselves in bad situations that we can't handle because God didn't bring us there....we brought ourselves there and now we are in over our head. We weren't trained or prepared and now we are hurt and bruised. But don't worry...we are never alone even when we head out on our own and away from the path of God. The Bible tells us that God is even there when we make our beds in hell. Whoa...that's pretty crazy. We can only set out to follow the path of God and if we find that we have gone the wrong way...don't let guilt and hurt keep you from getting back up....just dust yourself off and try again.
I needed to hear this today. I thank God with all my heart for the amazing friends and family I have that help keep me standing. My family has seen me grow from a frail little thing into a woman that will fight and never give up. These friends and family are fighting their own battles as well. We are all moving forward...our arms linked. When one person starts to go down, the people beside them lift them up. When life seems overwhelming and you feel like you might drown in your To-D0 list...just turn that To-Do list into a battle plan and remember that God has given this trial to you because you are a shepherd that He is turning into a King.
For those about to battle....I salute you...
Katie the Great