I’m privileged to have a guest post from Carole Sparks. Please see her bio that follows the post.
We Are Built to Last
By Carole Sparks
My pen ran out of ink this morning; I threw it away. We finished a box of cereal; I put the box in the recycling bin. My son stained his white t-shirt (not just a little bit—a huge stain), so I dropped it in the garbage. Disposable. So much of what surrounds us these days is disposable, and that perspective infiltrates our culture.
We live in a world now of plastic and glue Disposable honor, replaceable truth If a pot breaks, why fix it, man, what’s the use? It costs less to buy it brand new
-“Built to Last” by Heartland (courtesy of metrolyrics.com)
It’s easy to go from disposable pens to disposable electronics to disposable homes to disposable…well, people. But we are not disposable. God did not create us in order to throw us away someday.
Back in the Old Testament book of Micah, God gave His prophet certain words to be proclaimed among the people. The people needed correction; they were corrupt, unfaithful, and greedy. The Lord delayed for a long time, but now judgment was coming. But here’s the kicker: the remaining few faithful people (i.e. the Remnant) were mixed up in that judgment along with everyone else. So when Micah got around to the hopeful part of his prophecy, God had him say, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief” (Micah 4:6). Did you catch that? It’s easy to miss. God said, “those I have brought to grief.” God caused their pain. God knew, when the judgment started, that faithful, innocent people would get swept up in it, but He also knew they could endure it. He knew they would endure, be gathered up, and form a new nation: “I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation” (4:7).
Why would God do something like that? Why would He let his faithful people be hurt? The answer is simple but hard to swallow. It was necessary for His greater glory. Earlier in the chapter, Micah prophesied about a new temple to which people from all nations would stream—one that far exceeded that used by the Israelites (4:1-2). This judgment was a necessary part of that plan. In our lives, too, difficult times are part of His plan and enlarge His glory.
Still, how could He let that happen to weak and vulnerable people?
Maybe we’re not as weak and vulnerable as we think. Let’s use an example. Grains, such as wheat, grow with a tough outer shell. Before we can grind the wheat into flour, the grains must be beaten to remove that shell, the “chaff.” (Both Ruth and Gideon did this, if you want Biblical references.) The Creator designed those kernels of wheat to be able to withstand the necessary beating. He did that for us, too. We are designed to withstand those difficult times, to endure even judgment that we personally don’t deserve. We are built to last. That judgment may leave us crippled or cast away, like some of the grains get broken or pushed to the side on the threshing floor, but we will endure! And also like the grain, we are far more useful for the Kingdom after such a beating.
I know this from experience, my friend. Even when you don’t have any confidence that you’ll make it through the beating or judgment or trial (whatever you want to call it), He already knows because, when He created you, this difficult time was already in His mind. Be sure, you are built to last!
Oswald Chambers says it well: “We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God?” (My Utmost for His Highest, October 4).
Carole is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her blog, http://notaboutme1151.wordpress.com.