SHINE!

Nothing is wasted with God. The things that are for our gain as well as the things that seem as loss--all of it can be redeemed by the One who holds this world together. 

What is for gain

I have been thinking about blessings and special graces this week. Have you ever had a special blessing come your way? You may feel God's favor or good pleasure in that gift. You feel remembered and known by his kindness.

But in paying careful attention, you may soon realize that he has blessed you with that gift in order for you to turn around and use that very gift to bless another. I heard a sermon this week (by John Piper for reference) that put words to this idea. 

In essence, he said, God did not save us to be cul-de-sacs. We are not to be collecting pools of self-serving gifts which circle around us and merely end with us. But instead we are saved to be conduits--conductors of his grace and goodness-- relaying the truths and promises of his GODness and light.

We are blessed, Christians, in order to pay it forward in His name. Not in the name of random acts of kindness, but in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

When we act as conductors of his blessings, our light shines-- not to glorify ourselves--but to bring glory to HIM.

 

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15,16

Are you tempted to hide your lamp under a bowl thinking that is humility? This passage tells us that is not humility. Instead, hiding your light is prohibiting God's glory from being displayed. If we get the glory from a situation, then perhaps it's best to hide those things under a bowl in humility. But if we can share and speak of the things in our life in such a way so that HE gets the glory, then SHINE forth!

 May we let our light, however dim or bright, radiate for HIM! May we let others know of the good which God has done so that HE may be glorified in this dark world. May we pass along the good gifts and love he has shared with us so that others may know his love as well.

What seems as loss

On the other hand, there are times when the grief of loss or pain is heavy upon us. How can we shine his light in hardship when we feel darkened? In those seasons, we may not be able to imagine how God could possibly be working all things together for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) We may feel forgotten or rejected.

I walked through a situation like this several years ago. My actions were not the main cause for the grief of that season. I was wounded by someone else and by the circumstances surrounding that. I did not ask for that unwelcome pain and grief.  At the time I could not understand, nor could I see how God was working any of those circumstances for my good.

But in persevering and trusting God through that dark season, he led me to see how he could redeem my pain. It was not wasted. Nothing is wasted in God's economy! He saw every tear and every heart ache and he had not forgotten me.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Just as in the case of blessings, I can see now, how he can use my grief to comfort and help others. He who comforts us in ALL our troubles asks that we then comfort those in trouble with the same care we received. More paying it forward in the name of Christ...in joy and in sorrow.

I am not saved to be a cul-de-sac, circling up my energies, whether in gain or loss, for my own end. I am saved to trust and grow and pay it forward to honor the greatness of our God. You too, right?

May we not hide the deeds of the Lord under a bowl in this dark day. SHINE strong in His name. It is for His glory, not ours. Be a wife... be a mom...be a nurse...be a dance instructor...be a sister...be a daughter....be a student...be a grandmom...be a professional...be an aunt...be it all for the glory of God. Whether in joy or in sorrow, do it all unto the glory of God. He wastes nothing! He can use our grief and our joy to accomplish his purposes if we keep our eyes fixed on HIM, the author and the finisher of our faith.

In Christ's love, erika