September 12, 2010
Ordinary Trials, Extraordinary Results
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12).
If we choose to deal with them wisely, the daily round of “ordinary” duties and “common” difficulties can be the source of something that is truly magnificent. The greatness of human character is often refined from seemingly unimportant and worthless materials. Before we despise any of our days or any of our decisions as inconsequential, let us think again. As God sees things, something of tremendously great consequence is in the making. It would be tragic to lose out on what is coming by failing to pay attention to its very “plain” preparation.
Just as God’s standards of greatness are different from ours, the process through which God produces greatness is also different. Who but God would have thought to prepare Moses or David to lead the nation of Israel by sending them off for years to herd flocks of animals? And who but God would have seen that God’s own Son, the King of Kings, would be born in a stable and raised in one of the poorest homes in Galilee, far from the usual training grounds of leadership?
It was in a simple carpenter's shop that Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). How is it that we think our own hardships have to make the evening news before they are significant?
Whatever our daily troubles in this world may be, they are “light” compared to the “weight” of the glory that will eventually result if our lives have been lived in fellowship with God (2 Corinthians 4:17). The dazzling glory that is up ahead will be out of all proportion to the often dull and unexciting affliction that will have produced it. So we should be careful not to underestimate ourselves. The humdrum appearance of our lives very likely conceals the fact that something great is going on.
“In what strange quarries and stoneyards the stones for the celestial wall are being hewn! Out of the hillsides of humiliated pride; deep in the darkness of crushed despair; in the fretting and dusty atmosphere of little cares; in the hard cruel contacts that man has with man; wherever souls are being tried and ripened, in whatever commonplace and homely ways, there God is hewing out the pillars for his temple” (Phillips Brooks).