"Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich... Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent."
Portions of this verse have been jumping around in my head the last couple of days and today I looked up the verses in context and was quite astonished to see it in its fullness. I was surprised to see that it actually spoke of refining, because it brought my understanding full circle.
But let me back up and provide some context as it relates to my life.
4 weeks ago the company I work for went through a major transition, and involuntarily handed the reigns over to a completely different East-coast based company, Comair. The last 4 weeks have been miserable. We've been understaffed, overworked, and underpaid.
And... Hi, my name is Sara McMoody. I'll be your server tonight. Our specials this evening are Ungratefulness and Lost Perspective.
Oh, how I have wrestled with the Lord the last 4 weeks. And oh, how I have indulged my complaints and negativity and self-pity. I have been wretched at work. I've had face-to-face blow-ups with co-workers, meanness towards passengers, angry outbursts. You name it.
And nearly every morning I've pleaded with the Lord for His love towards these people; for His patience and mercy. Waiting for a lightning moment from Heaven extending the ability to obey, being deceived that until then my actions were out of my control.
I went from a spiritual high to a plunging, breath-taking low. The Esther study wrapped up the week before the company transition. I went from a place of spiritual fruit and true reliance on the Lord, to a place of intense stretching and extreme discomfort; and to put it quite plainly, I have not done very well.
I've been poor, miserable, wretched, and blind. I was in a place of spiritual wealth: ample fellowship, daily prolonged time in Bible study and prayer, spiritual fruit. I transitioned, by default of a new company, to a place of overwork, high stress, isolation, and intense challenge.
I've dreamed incessantly of being someplace different, all the while having the most ungodly attitude. For the last 3 days now, the Lord has been trying to get my attention, and it wasn't until this morning that I actually sat down and gave Him the adequate time and place to speak to me.
I am exactly where He wants me.
It's difficult and hard and I would gladly this cup pass from me, but He's placed me there. Amidst the difficult circumstances and people. Amid being understaffed and overworked and underpaid. Why?
Because there are people there that He loves with an unfathomable love. People that desperately need to be shown the unfailing love and truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.
People who come from every walk of life that need a kind word and a loving deed, without punishment.
Because He's worthy of every small sacrifice.
Because the reknown of His Name and His Glory should be my life's pursuit.
It's in these moments of life, the utter downs, the ones in which we beg for this cup to pass, that we are conformed to His image; we pass from the natural into the supernatural.
"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
~1st Peter 1:6-7~
~1st Peter 1:6-7~
What should our lives result in? The praise and glory and honor of me? Of my name?
No. With as much emphasis as I can utter. To the praise and glory and honor and revelation of Jesus Christ.
If we have settled into a place of self-satisfaction and self-congratulation, we need a wake-up call. We need to remember from where we have fallen, and that we were poor, wretched, miserable, blind, and naked. Until Him.
Not until our pwn piety kicked in. Not until our good works outweighed our bad. Not until others recognized our goodness. Not until others praised us.