A young boy and his father watched a ball game on television one winter evening since the weather was very cold, raining, and damp. After a while, the boy asked his dad, “Why does it seem to be raining every Saturday? Let’s ask God to change the weather so you and I can go outside and play or ride bikes?”
The father responds to his young son in very loving terms, “Well son, I’m sorry but that is just not the way things work.” The dad reaches for his Bible, turns to Isaiah 55:10 and reads to his son: For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater...
“So, my son,” the dad responds, “The rain, snow, and all this winter weather is preparing the earth for farmers to grow the crops we’ll eat, the hay the animals will eat, and the flowers your mom likes to plant.”
The young boy stares at his father with loving amazement at the knowledge of God he has and the way his dad seems to know exactly how to listen to God for all the answers. He hopes one day he too will have this ability.
Later that night, after the son is fast asleep, the father kneels beside his bed and begins to ask God to take away all the trials and tribulations he is going through: the money issues, paying the insurance, the bills, the marriage troubles, his job, the mortgage, the in-law problems, the family problems, and on and on and on the list goes.
Exhausted from reciting the endless list of day to day trials he must encounter, he looks up at the ceiling and in a barely audible sigh, he says, “I give up. I surrender. I can’t do it. God, I just can’t live the Christian life.” In heaven, seated on His throne, in a closer than you might think it is heaven, God rises to His feet, beating His chest with joy says out loud, “Finally, finally, he is beginning to understand!”
Then, as the dad slips into sleep, the angels of God begin to remind him of the rest of Isaiah’s words which say... so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isa. 55:11
When the dad awakens in the morning, he has a burning desire to read another passage. It’s in Romans 8:28-30: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Then, the Comforter, the same One who gave him the passage he read to his son, reminds him that his heavenly Father has given him a passage to explain why our problems rain down on us. They are sent by God to drive us to surrender of our own ways and into His ways.
We were not created to live the Christian life. Only Jesus was. My role is to learn how to allow Jesus to live his life through me while I am being conformed into his image through the suffering and problems of this life. Do I ask God to remove the things He is using to conform me into the likeness of His Son, or am I giving thanks in all these things?
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