-The Gifts Are Great, But I Want the Growth!
Just Real Quick!!
Man, it has been a beautiful and wonderful season of learning in my life so far this year. I look back and realize how grateful I should be when I see how far I have come. One of the most important things I have learned is how important it is to find my contentment in Christ, especially through tests and trials.
In these last few tests I have experienced in this year alone, I realized that when I made up my mind to trust God, in spite of how weak my trust and faith started off, the Lord has been gracious and merciful to see me through and honor the commitment I made to trust Him. Because of this, I have seen how much my faith and trust in God has grown to such tremendous lengths I could have never imagined! Old Kimberly would have given in and given up a LONG time ago with some of what I have had to trust God through.
The thing about it though, is that growth isn't the only thing you get after you have successfully completed a test. The Lord is so kind to give us gifts as well. For instance He can gift us with the very things we were tested with -- a specific thing, place or position in life -- and will grant it once we go through a test successfully. And not only will He grant it, but He will give us far more than we had ever hoped to end up with. That's amazing! He's wonderful!
This reminds me of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was willing to go through testing when the Lord commanded him to use Isaac as a burnt offering to the Lord. He probably felt like caving when he thought about having to sacrifice the son God had been the one to supply him with. But Abraham successfully passed this test by not questioning God or the test He provided, but by trusting that God's will is best no matter what and committing to going through the test no matter how hard, with his eyes and hope still on God and trusting God. At the end, Abraham was able to keep Isaac, all in one piece and perfectly unharmed. Additionally though, Abraham received a blessing from the Lord to become the Father of many nations. I'm sure that was far more than he had ever expected to receive at the end of his testing.
But you know what? Far better than that gift, the Word of God states that Abraham's faith alone was enough to save him, to grant him eternal salvation and a permanent spot up there with the God he loved so much. I think this is what Abraham valued much more than the gifts God gave him as a result of testing.
I have learned the same. I have found how much more valuable it is to know how to truly trust God and be content in Him, no matter how hard and difficult my journey gets.
I have found that even though the gifts are great and far beyond what I could have ever imagined for myself, I would trade those gifts ANY DAY for true contentment in God and true trust in God.
Even if I received all the wonderful, mind-blowing gifts God could give me, none of it would matter if I was still missing true contentment in my heart and was not fulfilled by the only One able to keep me fulfilled. I would still be so miserable with all those wonderful gifts. Much of the wealthy can attest to this fact I'm sure.
But I have found that the gifts fail in comparison to the growth that is produced in me after testing and trials. The growth that God has produced in me has been far more satisfying than His undoubtedly amazing gifts! And I want to protect and preserve it more than the gifts, much like Abraham.
God ALWAYS comes through when I have committed to hoping and trusting in Him during tests. Because of this, I have even learned how to employ strategies I learned in one test to the next and have proven God to be truly faithful. And as a result of this, I don't get too anxious and fearful when a test does come, because I have also learned from previous tests that God will indeed come through, no matter how hard or impossible things seem. Even when they don't work out the way I want, I have found truly that His way resulted in a better and more satisfying situation for me in the end. Do you see the trend in what I'm saying? Tests produce true contentment in God.
Life changes. And none of us are promised an easy life. So we don't need the things that will pass away, or things that change with the seasons and time to try and satisfy us. We need satisfaction from the unchanging God first who will make sure that our satisfaction lasts forever.
So that's why I say, "Bring on the tests!!"
And trust me, I am well aware that the tests are real and truly difficult. WELL AWARE.
But bring them on, because I want the growth and contentment they produce!
Just wanted to say that real quick...