I have an entire list of devotion ideas in my notepad, but for some reason, the Lord brought this old post to my mind this morning, and I just can't get away from it. It would seem that the Lord wants someone to read this today (or maybe it's just for me). Either way, without further ado, here's a post from October of 2009. I hope you enjoy it!
Do any of you remember the old game, "Don't Tip the Waiter?" It was a cardboard cutout of a waiter holding a tray above his head. The waiter was set up in such a way that he rocked back and forth each time you touched him. The object of the game was to put as many foods (also cardboard cutouts) on the waiter's tray as you could without causing him to tip forward or backward to the point where he dumps everything. It was a fun game. . .frustrating, but fun.
Recently, I've felt like I've been part of the game. The problem is that I've felt like the waiter. I feel like God is placing one difficult situation after another on my tray. Let me tell you, I'm rocking. I haven't fallen on my face yet or dumped the entire load, but I have honestly questioned how many more things I can take. Most of the situations are not serious. It's just one thing after another, and that becomes very wearying. We can't get rid of the dog's fleas. The dishwasher is leaking. . .again. Someone (actually 419 someones) hacked into my e-mail account and sent out boatloads of spam. Last night, I discovered a hoard of creepy, crawly insects on my back step. At first, we thought they were termites, but closer examination revealed to us that they were actually winged ants. Better, but still not good.
As I've thought about it, I've realized that I'm not the only one going through these valleys. For example, a dear friend in our church is going through a similar situation. He's been out of work around a year now. As if that's not discouraging enough, he lost his vehicle, was blessed with a new one, but then it broke down after only a few weeks. He's trying to go to school so that he can get a job, but his vehicle situation won't even allow him to get there.
Another church member has been taking care of her husband ever since he had a stroke several years ago. He went in for surgery to remove water from his brain, but had a severe stroke on the operating table and hasn't been the same since. She has scraped and saved to be able to provide for them both while still being able to pay for his many doctor bills. His latest tests show a mass that looks a lot like cancer. He goes in for more tests soon.
One of my dearest friends has suffered the loss of both parents. She now juggles around her daily tasks to take care of her mother-in-law, her uncle, and her aunt who are all elderly and sickly. She spends her days tending to the sick, driving them to doctor's appointments, and trying to care for their houses and yards as well as her own. I've seen her turn down numerous invitations to go to lunch with friends because she just couldn't get away from her obligations.
Why? Why do Christians go through such hard times? You would think if God really wanted us to serve Him, He wouldn't make it so difficult. But then, my mind goes back to Joseph. Remember him? Loved by his father. Hated by his brothers. Given a special gift. Sold into slavery. Promoted to chief servant. Falsely accused and thrown into prison. Promoted to prison guard, so to speak. Forgotten by the butler for over a year. Brought before Pharaoh. Promoted to second in command. Saved the world from starvation. That Joseph. Remember him now?
If anyone had reason to question, "God, what are you doing?" it was Joseph. Yet, instead, he said, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." Joseph knew God had a purpose.
As we face the many trials of life, may we ever be reminded that God has a purpose. We don't know what it is. We don't understand our current circumstances. But we can rest assured that God means it for our good. The key word there being "rest."
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. - Psalm 37:7