Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hard times are only occasional experiences (2 Corinthians 4:1)

SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 4:1 (TM)
Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.

Paul Dietz tells this story: I recently read a peculiar story about a family in Lander, Wyoming that had gone to their local refuse dump to dispose of some unwanted family items that were either busted or greatly abused. As they were emptying their junk into a large dumpster, the man of the home saw something that caught his eye. It was apparently an ornate, antique four-poster bed that had been left there by some other family. 

The man called to his wife to have her to look at it as well. After a few moments of discussion they both agreed that it most likely could be restored to its original condition. So, even though it was a bit worn and tattered, they began to inquire about that possibility with the management staff of the refuse center. They found that there was no problem with taking the grand piece of junk home if they would just pay a small fee of a few dollars.

They proceeded to load the headboard, footboard and the wooden rails into the back of their pickup and pull-along trailer. As they were loading the post, which were separate pieces, they began to question the weight of each one. The husband felt they were quite a bit heavier than he had imagined they would be. But they finally got all the pieces loaded and drove home.

When they got home, the husband backed the truck and trailer into his driveway with the assistance of his wife and eldest son. They then proceeded to unload the bed one piece at a time. To their amazement, as their son picked up one end of the first bed-post, the finial at the top worked loose and slipped out of its socket. Thankfully they were standing in the front yard and a nearby hedge broke the fall, catching the post. But suddenly they heard the weirdest noise.

As they turned to look toward the area of the noise, something caught the glimpse of the father’s eye. A few silver coins tumbled to the ground near the base of the bush. After picking up the loose coins he looked in the opened end of the bedpost and to his surprise there were more silver coins inside. With the help of his son, he picked up the opposing end and hundreds of silver, brass and gold coins came rolling out onto the lawn. Many of the gold ones dated back to the 1800’s and almost all of the coins were near mint condition. After close inspection of the other three posts, they, too, were completely hollow and contained equal amounts of coinage.

Amazing stuff one can find at a garbage dump! The finest of treasures in the least likely places! To hear stories like that are always a great thrill to hear! Who knows, next time any one of us goes to the refuse dump, hard to tell what we might find. As my dad always said, one man's trash is another man's treasure!

Like treasurers from the dumb, hard times just could be unrealized blessings. Hard times do not have the appeal of an easier situation. The hard times do not come all polished and beautiful. The hard times fail to excite us and seldom motivate us or even inspire us… but there is undiscovered value to be found within the hard times.

We might wonder what God is doing during the hard times. Often we question God’s wisdom or even if God is there at all as we struggle under the weight of the hard times. The hard times stretches us to the point that we wonder if we are going to break under the strain of the heavy load.

But as we unload the burden… as we emerge on the other side of the situation… as we take the time to reflect back on the difficult journey just experienced – we realize that there was unfound treasure in going through what we just went through. Oh, we definitely didn’t think so at the time, but in retrospect we found that God was with us all the time and the treasurer is discovered.

The other truth is that hard times are only occasional experiences. No one lives in a land of nothing but hard times. Those hard time situations are only like a passing storm. While wind and rain might fall and there might be an occasional flood or two, the sun does come out again, the water dries up and life goes on. God reveals that there is resurrection after the death and burial. The dawning of a new day awaits us… and the hard times will only be a distant memory.

Thank you for not giving me more than I can handle. Thank you for providing the strength for getting through the hard times that do come my way. Thank you for the promise of the dawning of a new day. Thank you for your revelation. 

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