Saturday, December 09, 2006

Redeeming trials

It is almost noon on Saturday and I am still attempting to fully wake up. The phone rang this morning well past midnight, our son calling to tell us he was driving home and to turn the porch light on (otherwise one can't see a thing).

He had planned to stop at our friend's house after a fencing tournament and spend the night there. (The last time he did this, they didn't even know he was there until they saw our car in the driveway! He lets himself in and sleeps in their son's room who has graduated from college...with their approval, of course.) However, the tournament ended after Midnight and he didn't want to bother them so he drove all the way home...bothering us instead, hehehe. That's okay, that's what we are paid to do as parents. Of course, I couldn't get back to sleep until I heard the car pull in the driveway and him enter through the front door. He knew I'd be awake and had to tell me he'd earned third place in the tournament...very good!

Having been awakened from a deep sleep, I couldn't get back to sleep for at least an hour. (Don't you just hate that, especially when you know you have to get up early?) As I lay awake, I was thinking about the blog post I'd written earlier talking about our trials and what it was like to go through them. I had received the sweetest e-mail from the lady whose comment about food stamps had brought about that post. Actually, I agree with what she said (that food stamps are often misused...we received them when we had no income). We exchanged e-mails last night and I enjoyed cyber chatting with her. If we were in the same town, I'd be having her over for tea soon!

I am actually a private person, probably to an extreme. To be able to share anything in this format is God given. I try to be careful as I don't want to visit someone who only whines about life so I am careful to keep from whining (mostly). At the same time, I have been greatly benefited by those who have walked the path before me (and survived!). That's what I hope to do, I know my own life has had crushing trials and defeats...often enough to make me pray at night not to wake up the next day (to be honest). Aren't we glad God doesn't answer all of our prayers? However, I can also name friends and family who have gone through trials I would never want to go through. God knows what we each can handle and gives Grace individually.

My philosophy of life comes from one sermon preached by an old country pastor when I was in my late 20s. It was probably one of the last sermons he preached, he passed away soon afterwards. (Which goes to show you true wisdom is not found only from those who have fame and fortune...and book deals.) He taught that we should always look at our life from an eternal perspective, that it would make all the difference in how we lived our life. For instance, if my worldview is that "this is it, go for the gusto, grab all I can" then I'd be in a dreadful state of mind. I would put the loss column next to the gain column of life and I'd be in a...deficit!

However, if this is truly the Shadowlands (as Clive Staples Lewis would say), then true Living is yet to come. I don't have to be concerned about mansions here, there is Someone building quite a nice dwelling place for me on the other side of Eternity. If I go through trials and they make me bitter and angry, then I've lost the chance to redeem the trial.

I've lost twice...that which caused the bitterness and I've lost the chance to walk as Christ would walk on this planet. I can take what seems lost or dead and redeem it by offering it back to Him, as a seed planted in the ground later becomes a gorgeous Spring flower. In this life, where sometimes it is often Winter and never Christmas...all we may see is ground (or some sparkling snow if we're fortunate) covering the seed. When one is looking at life from an Eternal perspective...we know all that appears lost will someday be resurrected in glory.

That's not to say the journey is not difficult, there remain plenty of opportunities to trust Him for meeting needs. However, that is why I so often talk about surrounding ourselves with Beauty in every way. True Christmas will arrive someday and the frozen tundra of a fallen world will melt away. In the meantime, we redeem our trials by taking the time to think through ways we can make this life a little more joyful...pleasant...lovelier...rather than letting the challenges of living in a fallen world cause us to give up entirely and live in defeat.

The World does not have the capacity to live this way but we who know the true Aslan...we have His ability within us to live a legacy of redeeming trials and the ability to look at life from that Eternal perspective.

1 comment:

Heather said...

My grandfather taught me that life is just a practice run for heaven. The closer we walk to God here, the more at home we will be in eternity. Do you ever get the feeling that C.S. Lewis disliked winter? As soon as Aslan was in Narnia again Father Christmas was able to get in and very soon after the springtime thaw began in earnest. We were talking about this with the children yesterday. The bitterest winter cold occured because Narnia was apart from Aslan, and in some ways when we face life's trials and feel the sting of cold, it is because we choose to suffer the trail away from our Father. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement.