I recently read these statistics: “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than seventy-five percent of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top eight percent of the world’s wealthy.” How many luxuries do we have that we so often take for granted? Let us consider our gifts and say, “Thanks!, I appreciate it, and I am grateful”.
From the time we are young, we are told what to do and how to do it. But part of us wants to try things our own way. Sometimes, this is a smart move, but other times, not listening can get us into big trouble. As we grow older, we are better able to discern whose advice we should listen to and whose we should disregard. But there are directions that we must never pass up: those coming from God. Sometimes when we are feeling hopeless, stressed, or afraid, we lack the vision to see how we can help ourselves. Sometimes, we can be feeling great and still lack the ability to see what is best for us.
Apart from Jesus Christ, everyone is spiritually poor. Regardless of our education, accomplishments, or religious knowledge, we are all spiritually destitute. How often we will look at someone in prison or the down-and-outer or the drug addict and think, Now, there is someone who is spiritually destitute. Then we look at ourselves. Maybe we have lived a relatively refined life. Maybe we have a good education or have accomplished certain things. We say, "I am not as destitute as that person." In one sense, that may be true. But in another sense, it isn't true at all. Before God, all people are spiritually destitute and unable to help themselves.
Some people have a hard time admitting this. It's difficult for us to acknowledge that we need to reach out to God, that we need His forgiveness. But if we want to be forgiven, if we want to be happy, then we must humble ourselves and admit our need.
How foolish it is to devote so much of our lives to the acquisition of things, when all things truly belong to the Lord. We are but caretakers of what the Lord has made, and it has been given us for everyone's pleasure. Wise use of our resources and preservation of all creation is the responsibility of all humankind. We have been given many precious gifts, but they are only ours for awhile. In time, all things return to the Lord.
In the adventure of life there are no "brownie points" earned for suffering, sacrifice, or tears. Nor for anguish, altruism, or selflessness. In fact, you don't even get any for generosity, gratitude, or compassion. You may not feel very blessed when you endure difficulties in your life. You may feel very unblessed! But if you trust God through those times, that He has a good purpose, and you continue to glorify Him in your life, then those hard times are producing a great reward in heaven for you and they are making you more like Jesus Christ right now.
Suffering gives you the opportunity to grow spiritually in amazing ways. Although enduring storms is never easy, we can often look back on them as some of the more intense periods of growth in our lives. If we choose to depend on God in the midst of our storms, we will come through them with greater faith, commitment, and effectiveness for Christ. Sometimes it is in our darkest and most turbulent storms that we see our greatest victories. No life is free from encounters with pain, disappointment, struggles, and temptations. We all go through storms, and through them, we either become better, or we become bitter.
In fact, God is drawn to broken people, choosing the most broken to do His highest work. His light shines best through broken people. Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed. Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.
God has promised to restore all the pains of our past, the heartaches from broken relationships, the struggles from defeat, and the frustrations of our lives. All the times we felt broken beyond repair, God has promised to restore.