A dear friend of mine shared this story with me recently, and I thought that I should share it with you here. The story was in a totally different context than in the spiritual realm, but something he said opened the door for this post. He said that I’m sure that you (meaning me) can find a way to relate this to the bible and your walk with Christ. He was right.
He was raised in a poor household, in much the same way I was. His father, though, gave him the tools that he needed to build a better life for himself. They weren’t physical tools, mind you. They were tools designed to help you persevere through life’s trials and difficulties. Two of which were frugality and pride. The frugality helped him to purchase his own lawnmower that he used to make money with as a young boy. The pride he took in that purchase caused him to take exceptional care of it to the point that it cut grass for years.
He told me that after every yard he cut, whether his own or someone else’s, he would perform the same ritual. He would wash it off…every blade of grass and spec of dirt. Then he would towel dry it…all of it down to the wheels. Lastly, he would take out the Turtle Wax and buff the deck to a bright shine until it looked new. Five years later, someone came up to him while he was working on it and said, “So you got a new lawnmower, huh?” He replied, “Nope. Had it for years.”
There are a couple of things going on behind the scenes prior to this conversation that you should know.
One- I’ve been stagnant and wallowing in my own self-pity for the last month or so. I’ve found out that what they say in the child-loss community is very true- the second and third years after the loss of your child are harder than the first. We’re coming up on two years, and I can honestly say they are right. I’ve regressed to the point where I’ve been mad at God lately.
And two- It seems that once you get into a place where you aren’t doing what you are called to do, the enemy grabs a hold of you and anchors you to the bottom. He delights in nothing more than seeing one of God’s called firmly in his grasp, held immovable by the weight of oppression. And the ways he does this are countless. From having to move again, to financial difficulties, to relationship problems, to losing your loyal family dog of five years, Satan will exploit every one of your weaknesses to defeat you.
As my friend was telling me this story, he told me that he likened what we are going through to the story of Job in the bible. Though we’ve lost nothing compared to Job, we’ve held onto our faith through the trials much the same way that job did. Which brings me to the message: God uses trials to polish us for our return to Him. The rough spots that my friend buffed out of the deck of his mower are the rough spots of our life. The dirt that gets cleaned off with a water hose is the dirt that gets washed off of us by His blood. The dents and dings and chinks in the metal of that mower are the same dents and dings and chinks that shape us into the believers and followers of Christ that we need to be for Him. And once we reach the end of that journey, those five years later, we’re like new and ready to mow for another five years. We’re polished and buffed clean and spotless and powerful in God’s eyes. And we’re richly rewarded for our faithfulness…
“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.” -Job 42:10-11
Here’s what the New Living Translation study guide says about these two verses:
“Would the message of the book of Job change if God had not restored to Job his former blessings? No. God is still sovereign. Jesus said that anyone who gives up something for the Kingdom of God will be repaid (Luke 18:29-30). Our restoration may or may not be the same as Job’s, which was both spiritual and material. Our complete restoration may not be in this life, but it will happen. God loves us, and He is just. He not only will restore whatever we have lost unjustly, but He also will give us more than we can imagine as we live with Him in eternity. Cling tightly to your faith through all your trials, and you, too, will be rewarded by God- if not now, in the life to come.”
Thank you, my friend, for reminding me of what He is calling me to be. For being faithful to Him in your weakness to rekindle the fire that the enemy has tried to put out. And thank you, Father, for using us…the least of these…for your honor and glory.
Feeling poor and powerless? Think on this: in our weakness we are blessed and made strong if we hold onto our faith. By His grace and mercy, we are restored.