Tuesday, January 6, 2009

IOW: Working and Growing Through the Tests

Bonnie is hosting In Other Words at Ink It Blog. Visit her to read more IOW posts and to link your own.
"Real life in the real world is a tough, nitty-gritty journey that every pilgrim on planet earth must make. Moving to Disney World is not an option. There will be tribulation; Jesus said so. But be of good cheer: He's still in the business of guiding and strengthening and healing and overcoming."

When the Glass Slipper Doesn't Fit
by Claire Cloninger and Karla Worley

In this world every person lives through seasons of joy and seasons of adversity, believers and unbelievers alike. Yet for believers the purpose of the seasons is clear.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. - James 1:2-4 [NKJV]
The Woman's Study Bible [1995, Thomas Nelson Publishers] addresses these times of testing:

"Testing comes through the circumstances of our lives so that we can know our own hearts more insightfully and appreciate God's grace more deeply.

In such times of testing, we become aware of our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions.

Through this self-awareness, God shows us where we must yet yield to Him in trusting obedience." - page 269, Testing: The Strengthening of Your Faith

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. - Psalm 139:23-24 [NKJV]

The woman of faith has a particular purpose for being tested: In her hands lie the future of the next generation of faithful women. At all times along her life's path she influences those who join her on the walk, or just briefly cross her path. Testing is like weeding the garden -- leaving only a pure faith and enabling the woman of faith to reach the goal that only God can assure she achieve.

The life of the woman of faith is not a stroll down a meticulously cultivated garden walk. She is not a guest enjoying the garden. She is a worker amongst the weeds and thorny patches. Working the Master Gardener's plan, teaching other gardeners as she goes, she nutures and cares all her life.
...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior...teachers of good things--that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. - Titus 2:3-5 [NKJV]
Dear Sisters in the Faith:

Let us seek the Lord during all our seasons:
  • In joy, He rejoices with us.
  • In sorrow, He comforts us.
  • In trials, He strengthens us.
  • In testing, He purifies us.
Even though it seems better to hide away from the tough times, the pain, the depression...strength comes to those who turn to Him in confidence (even a shaky one). Never doubt your worth or purpose in His plan...and enjoy the good times with a thankful heart. We walk our own paths...but we all walk. If I don't see you sooner, I'll see you at the Garden Gate!
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. - 1 Thessalonians 2:4 [NKJV]


Karen said...

"Strength comes to those who turn to Him" I like that reality it is so true. Its not for those who are hiding or escaping. Loved your post and the tid-bit at the end to focus on.

Esthermay said...

Well said. I do like how you've tied in the instructions in Titus for women. Takes me to the verse in II Corinthians 1:3-5: "... who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."
There is NO experience on earth that we cannot use to glofify HIM!
Happy IOW Tuesday and

~esthermay @The Heart of a Pastor's Wife

Bonnie W said...

"The woman of faith has a particular purpose for being tested: In her hands lie the future of the next generation of faithful women."

So true Patricia! It is through the trying of our faith that we can reach ot to that generation and love them into the kingdom.

Thanks for sharing today.

Miriam said...

Amen, amen! I am so blessed to read this today. It's true that the Godly examples of some women in my life have been so pivotal... and how very important it is, then, that we continue to grow in strength to be examples of Godly women for our daughters!

I am bookmarking this post... thanks so much for sharing from God's word and your heart!

MiPa said...

"She is not a guest enjoying the garden. She is a worker amongst the weeds and thorny patches."

Beautiful word picture of what life is like! Thank you for the encouragement of this piece.

Denise said...

This is such a great post.