Thursday, July 26, 2012

Answers

I watched "Soul Surfer" last night.  It was such an amazing movie. It is a tear jerker, so have tissues handy.   It is about a girl who loves to surf.  She dreams about being a professional.  She is just a teenager and is so close to that dream.  She is at the top of her game.  One routine day, while surfing, she gets attacked by a shark and loses an arm.  Now what?  Will she ever be able to surf again?  Will she be able to do anything normal again?  She remains surprisingly positive.

For me, one of the parts that really stuck with me was a scene where she is talking to her youth minister, and she remembers a discussion they had before the attack.  She was teaching the kids how sometimes when we are too close to a situation, we don't have the right perspective to see the whole picture.  Then she finally asks the question.... (watch the video)

I loved the answer she gave.   She could have guessed a plan that God had in this. She could have tired to come up with any possible absolute answer, but she didn't.  She simply says, "I don't know, but i have to believe that something good is going to come out of this."  How many of us would have come up with some sort of answer?  How about this one:  " I guess surfing is not in God's plans for you."?  That probably would have been one's first instinct answer.  Simply put, she tells her to just have faith.  In time you will see why this happened.  I was encouraged by this because I always want to have an answer for someone's hurt.  I want to be able to say exactly what it is that will give them hope and comfort.  And I know i am not the only one who struggles with this.  Then, we usually end up saying something dumb just because we felt we needed something to say. If she had told her that maybe surfing was just not in God's plans for her, it would have crushed her, not built her up.  Sometimes when we feel we have to give an answer, it cuts off any possibility to see the real answer.  We think we are pointing them to God, but in reality, we are pointing them away.  The answer is for God to give, not us.

I am not giving away any more of the movie.  You will just have to see it for yourselves (if you haven't already)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Gold


 Zechariah 13:9

I will bring that group through the fire

    and make them pure.
I will refine them like silver
    and purify them like gold.
They will call on my name,
    and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘These are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”


If you know anything about the process of refining gold, you know that not a single part of it is pleasant.  Gold, in it's original state is not pure gold.  This is what it looks like:

So, in order to get it to the desired state, the lump above has to be liquefied and separated.  The impurities have to be removed.  In the process of  separating the gold, the impurities float to the surface, and the gold sinks to the bottom.  Same is true when we separate from our sins.  We can't get rid of them if we don't allow them to come to the surface.  That means that everything that we want to keep secret because we are ashamed of them will remain in our lives and in our hearts until we muster the courage to be real with it and allow it to surface so we can deal with it.  Only then, can the next process begin:
Probably the most unpleasant part of the refining process is going through the fire.  The gold is placed into the fire and refined by almost 1900 degrees of fire.  In this process, the impurities are completely removed from the gold.  Of course, allowing your sins, and the things we are ashamed of to come to the surface is painful.  Sometimes, when we are being refined, when we get to the hardest, most painful part, we want to give up.    We "can't take the heat".  Little do we know, when we get to that point, we are almost done!  Just a little while longer and we will be this:
Shiny gold.  This gold has a story, and it was not a simple, easy one.  It is a story of  being melted into the hands of the engineer who knows exactly what he is doing.   If you don't allow the heating process to take place, you end up looking like mud.  I can't find a picture, but i watched a video on the refining process, and the gold before it goes through the fire looks like mud!  Who wants to be mud?
That is why God tells us:

"This is my command- 
Be strong and courageous!  
Do not be afraid or discouraged. 
 For the Lord, your God is with you 
where ever you go.  
Joshua 1:9

It takes courage to endure this process.  I have endured it countless times.  And I can tell you from experience that when I felt like i just could not take it any longer, that was actually the end of it.  Be strong and courageous.  The fire is the hardest, yet most important part of gold becoming what it is supposed to be.