Wednesday, June 8, 2016

PLENTY WITHOUT PAIN

A reference to Kara Tippett’s bookThe Hardest Peace .  She talked about those days “The Prayer of Jabez” swept the spiritual world and the expectations we were left holding.  “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain. And God granted his request.” I Chronicles 4:10,  “We all liked what his prayer had to offer, plenty without pain.”  OH—How we ALL want this!  Kara addresses who was the prayer meant for?  What if it was only meant for Jabez?  She reminds us we are all guilty of wanting more and ease, and we want to use God to get it.  “But we are not the Author of our story.  We are the characters.”


As I sat in the nail parlor treating myself to a badly need pedicure, I overheard a conversation between two women.  It is not eavesdropping when they are talking across the room.  They were discussing what jewelry to wear to some gala they were having their nails done for.  There is not one thing wrong with having your nails done, nor having jewelry, nor attending a gala-but I sat there and remembered those who are instead worrying about what they will feed their family tonight.  As my daughter often states, “A First World Problem” is the mundane worries of our world of ease. 




So pretend, we indeed have it all—our territory has been expanded—our life is filled with blessings—and there has never been any pain.  Would you then sleep better at night?  My professional career as a CPA taught me people are never satisfied.  There is ALWAYS someone around the corner who has more—and we want what they have.  You get all the money---the biggest house---the most expensive car---travel the globe—own fine art and expensive jewelry---but then meet someone who has all that AND is more successful at golf-tennis—their career—prettier wife---on and on.  There is always something around the corner to whet our appetite and create envy.  Man is NEVER satisfied with things of this earth.
Contrast that with The Third World---What am I going to feed my family today, will there be water enough to keep us alive, where will we sleep, how can I protect them from the danger all around,  will I wake up tomorrow.  In our quest for more—we forget those who have nothing.  Why would God bless us when we forget the least of those? 

Circle back to where we started.  Life has pain—for all of us—rich and poor.  Somehow—somewhere—at some point in time—you will experience pain—of some description.  In riches and in want—there is pain.  Where is all this leading? “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” John Keats.   It is not what you have—it is what you do with what you have and how you handle those moments of pain.  News Flash—we DO NOT get out of this alive!  Death is hard—it can be painful---loss is heartbreaking---God does not promise us a life with no pain.  God does promise, He will be with us—faithfully—every step of the way. There is pain, but the plenty in our life is the love of the Father---and His abiding presence during those times of pain.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18

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