Friday, August 15, 2014

The Porcelain Test

Our weekend was planned… it’s funny how things you don’t plan seem to interrupt those quiet, peaceful times just when you think you’re getting ahead.

I had worked hard all week so that that I could get done early on Friday, leaving us plenty of time to do the things we needed around the house. 
Saturday morning came and we had a really nice time enjoying one another’s company while preparing for the rest of the day’s chores.  We weren’t stressed about anything even though there was work to be done.  Why was that?  We had everything worked out and adjusted our activities accordingly.  It wouldn’t be long before our plans were shattered, literally.
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Some Help Mate 

Being the “good” wife that I am (bragging rights may be infringed upon here), I was helping hubby in between some of my own duties.
It was a simple task of replacing the seal on the toilet. Of course, hubby would have to fix it by removing the toilet and put it aside so he could do the work.  That’s where I come in …hubby’s “help mate”.  (Genesis 2:18 NKJV) 
If you have ever replaced a toilet seal, you know that when you do the bottom where it connects to the floor is quite sticky.  In order not to damage the floor you need to place the fixture on its side or on something.  He decided to put it in the tub on cardboard.  This way he could clean it and not harm anything.
Everything was going fine.  While he was out at the plumbing store getting a part, I decided to “help” him (I know you see it coming don’t you …) by washing the toilet while it was in the tub.  This way it would be ready for him when he returned.
The task was done and he was ready to put the hopper back in its rightful place.  He bent over to pick it up, but while lifting it slipped out of his hands crashing in the tub breaking it beyond repair.  Why did it slip through his fingers?  It was wet.  I had thought to dry it, but figured it would dry before he got back from the hardware store. 
Immediately our day of fending forward leisurely was halted and went into emergency plans instead.
Who Has Time for Games?
After we both played the guilt blame game for a while (we each blamed ourselves), we got on with the real problem.  It was the weekend and we only had a few hours to get this new problem solved. This caused another challenge since the hardware/plumbing store and bank closed at noon; it was almost dinner time.
We bought the toilet less than two years ago at Lowe’s which is one hundred miles away. Where would we get another one at this hour?  That was the first question.  Then hubby remembered that a local hardware store rearranged their store that week and started to carry new items.  Guess what one of those items was?  Yep … you guessed it.

Another thing we didn’t have in our town two years ago was a national hardware store.  The town was thrilled when it opened last fall. 
(You can read about the grand opening here if you like.  The grand opening was a blast, and we were so blessed with hundreds of dollars in prizes! There’s a short video that will make you smile if you want to see it.)
Now we have three places to get items such as this (that’s when they are all open).  Hubby called around and checked on the stock, which is another problem.  Small towns don’t keep much on their shelves and carry only a few of each item. 

Both opened stores had one item for the same price; however the new hardware store had their brand on sale for ten dollars less.   Now that we have tracked one down, how do we pay for it? A new toilet wasn’t in the plan, let alone the budget.
Plastic for Porcelain
Checking our resources, we had left out enough money for gas, a few items and pet supplies with the rest going toward bills.  All our bills but one are paid in cash, anything else goes in the bank.  We were up to date, so nothing was left out for easy access.  We had three choices: debit, credit card or use the cash we needed for pet supplies and gas. 
My first response was to use the credit card, because it would be fast and we could figure out the money part on Monday. 
As I went to get my card something in my spirit said no.  When I walked back out in the kitchen I grabbed the bank envelope and recounted the ready cash.  My husband asked me what I was thinking.  I told him I didn’t think we were supposed to use the plastic, but pay cash like always.
He said he felt the same thing and thought this was a test from the Lord. It’s easy to trust in our credit cards or own ways of sorting out unperceived situations, but to fully trust God sometimes is hard.  We decided not to use plastic for the new porcelain and see how God would work out all the needs and details.
I Am Your Father
All week long I watched to see God work out all the details.  He reminded me of who I was in His family by asking me these questions. Our conversation was brief, but powerful.
The Holy Spirit: What did you have to do in order for your father to give you food?
Me: Nothing. 
What did you have to do in order for your father to give you a place to sleep?
Nothing …  

What did you have to do in order for him to buy you clothes?

I was beginning to see His point.  I knew this in my head, but didn’t see it so clearly.
My earthly father provided the things I needed because he is my father, not because I had done anything for him to earn those things.  When we did chores, it wasn’t because he required them of me as a payment for what he did and provided for me.  Chores were to show me responsibility and that rewards come to those who remain faithful.
I trusted my dad to provide whatever I needed, when I needed them.  Not once did I get that confused with doing my chores. I understood what it meant and got fed, had clothes and a roof over my head whether I did those chores or not.  My trust for him doing those things was never in question, because that’s what daddy’s do.
So if we can do that with our earthy guardians, why can’t we do that with our Heavenly Father who gives us all things to enjoy?  We don’t have to beg God for things He already knows we need.  The things that are not needed at the moment will come in due time.
God doesn’t meet our needs because He has to, but because He favors His children over those who are not His.  It’s so easy to comprehend this in the natural, but hard to grasp the concept when it pertains to our Heavenly Father. 
So I said to the Lord, “OK, you promised to work this out for my good.  I’m trusting in You to make that happen.”  By now it wasn’t the porcelain throne that I cared about, but everything that has happened recently in my life.
It was like God was saying, “Just be the kid and I’ll be the Dad.”  No I don’t mean we’re not supposed to work or take care of our responsibilities, but that we are to lean on our Heavenly Father in our journey to make the right decisions by trusting Him to work all things out for our good according to His plan.  It doesn’t always have to come down to a test, but simple trust.

Fragile feelings

Being Dyslexic and visually challenged often tests my physical abilities, but those tests seem as nothing compared to the emotional ones.  Does this mean that everything is to be a test? No, but that our trusting God in all situations shouldn’t be something that requires a test. Our obedience lies in our trust.

“For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you (your faith in trusting God) to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. (2 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV) 

Our emotions are often like porcelain, where they are precious, sensitive, fragile and get broken when we least expect it.  This kind of test forces me to put my own feelings under control in order to believe God’s Word regardless of the circumstances.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)

The Bible instructs us to “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not to our own understanding.”  We put all our trust into the problem and lean to our knowledge of working out situations, when in fact our abilities are as limited as our knowledge.

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
(Psalms 147:5 NKJV)

In all your ways acknowledge Him (God) and He will direct your path.  We turn to God and say Oh Lord, why did this happen, instead of saying, “OK God, I’m excited to see how you’re going to work this one out for my good.”  Sure it may be easy to do this with something as petty as a new toilet, but if we aren’t doing it for the small things you can be certain we won’t acknowledge the Lord when it comes to the tough stuff.
James 1 tells us not to be surprised or even thrown when tests and trials come into our lives. In fact, we are to expect them for three reasons. 

The first is logical to a believer; satan wants to have his way with us.

Second: tests show us our true trust relationship with God.

Third: tests and trials let God show Himself powerful in our world of doubt and unbelief.

No one likes tests, but they are needed.  Tests are a way of showing measurements in our learning in all areas of life, not just in a textbook.  Without them we have no way of knowing how much we have achieved or what needs to be learned.
Let me ask you this: How much do you really trust God? To what measures are you willing to go in trusting God? At what point do you bail on Him and resort to your own knowledge?

This Week's Challenge:

The Measure of Trust Test

Today, August 15th is National Relaxation Day.  We’re not only going to rest our bodies from hard work this weekend, but put our mind, emotions and thoughts to rest concerning the cares of this world.
“Casting all your care upon God, for He cares for you.” (1Peter 5:7 NKJV)
Knowing that trials and tests will come, we will have to make some decisions that go against what we want to do in the natural. 
When “tempted” to make snap decisions based on emotions, don’t.  Talk to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants you to do. Trust Him to guide you into the right thing. Wait to see how God will work it out for your good.  Then you can tell others of His faithfulness.
“Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
and I will declare Your greatness.” (Psalm145:6 NKJV)

Trust and Obey - Big Daddy Weave
Until next time, favor God with your trust.

“God is more than worthy of our trust.”
– Jerry Bridges

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