Monday, February 9, 2009

A Strange Prayer Request

Lord let me feel the grief so that I may rejoice!

So how is that for a prayer request?
A friend recommended that I listen to a particular podcast on I Peter 1:3-9.
The teacher was Mark Driscoll ( a personal favorite) and the subject was on trials.
There was a lot of food for thought...substantial food.
The first part of his teaching was on grief being a true emotion that God gives us. But, "the weight of God's glory is heavier than any grief of the trial in your life."
He affirmed the process and admonished us to not make trite statements such as:
"You need to read the Psalms"
"It's time to move on"
"Have you searched your heart for sin?"

The second half of his sermon was on the ten reasons to rejoice in your trial.
1. I have been shown great mercy
2. I am born again...with a complete different orientation
3. I have a living hope through the living resurrection of Christ
4. My inheritance is unshakable and not perishable
5. My inheritance is kept in heaven..this is not home...this is the closest we will get to hell!
6. My salvation is secure...He will carry me and will never leave me. It does not mean it will get better but He will be there.
6. This trial is all for only a little while. This life will seem like "one short recess in a school day"...what is worse? A bad eternity.
7. Faith is of greater value than gold. Trials really purify my faith and this brings me to praise Him. The heat of the trial hurts but purifies. It gets rid of the strongholds, bad motives, functional saviors, pride, hopes and dreams. The heat exposes my
impurities and sanctifies by the Spirit.
8. I am to rejoice in the results of the trial rather than the trial itself.
9. Though I have not seen Him I love Him....I could not denounce or deny Him because I love Him.
10. Though I do not see Him I believe in Him...trials force me to answer the question "Do I believe?"

Personally I feel like I have done a lot of rejoicing this past year. I knew all the verses that say rejoice and reminded myself that even if I don't want to I must because I am commanded to do so. My heart will follow if only I will obey.
I have had many moments where I would rather wallow in despair or have a nice little pity party. But, I have tried ever so hard to take those thoughts captive and rejoice instead.
I am not always so faithful though.
Yesterday I dealt with a loss of hope. I have been dealing with this just about every Sunday now. There is nothing like going to church and seeing intact families to send me into a tailspin of grief. I am confronted every week with my loss and the sadness can sometimes seem overwhelming come Sunday evening.
Late last night I decided I needed a boost of faith...I needed to hear God's Word preached personally to my heart. And, what I heard was good medicine indeed.
If you would like to hear the sermon I did please click here.
I promise you that whatever trial you are working through (financial, relationships, loss) this word from God will encourage you.
Today? I am rejoicing once again in the trial that has been set before me.


CristyLynn said...

Heather, this is great! We've recently been listening to some Driscoll. I really appreciate his style of preaching. He seems to have a good balance of being relevant and clear but still worshipping God the way that God has said He should be worshipped.
Thank you for this post!

Oh, and I hope you don't mind, but I linked you in a recent post and gave you a kudo. Thank you again for your testimony!


flowerpot said...

Hey Heather,

We listen to Pastor Mark most of the time. The Peter series is very good.

I haven't been around much due to the business and I've commented even less, but please know I have been praying for you and the kids and will continue to do so.

Carlee said...

My husband once preached on trials in a chapel service of a Christian High School. After studying James in context with the entire Bible, he became convinced that if we understood God's purpose for trials in our lives, we would pray for them. He purposed for our family to live in one of 3 states: rejoicing in a trial, preparing diligently for the next trial, or coming out of a trial and reflecting upon our growth and new perspective and closeness to God. Although my initial reaction was one of fear, I quickly came to appreciate what he had taught me and I strive to live in one of those 3 states.

When he preached to the school, he was politely applauded, etc. Then the principal came on stage and corrected him: "Pastor Dan was not saying that you should actually pray for a trial...."

Yes, he was.

God tells us in James chapter 1, 1 Corinthians, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians that we are blessed for our trials, they are for our benefit, and we should not instantly pray or try to get out, but rather faithfully go through them.

You, then, indeed, are blessed. Not perfect, not finished, but blessed.

six2love said...

Heather, I'm going to listen to that sermon, it sounds wonderful. Last Sunday our message was on gratefulness which is what I've been focusing on. You are such an example of rejoicing during the hard times. Have you read HEAVENLY MAN by a Chinese brother with the last name Yun? An account of following Jesus resulting in persecution, torture, jailing, etc. This man is grateful to share in Christ's suffering.

Picked out a headstone when David's parents returned to Oregon. I'm glad that's done, but I don't expect I'm going to like his name carved in granite in a graveyard. God is great, despite what I like or want.

Ann LOVED your kitchen and was trying to explain the glass tile. I told her you probably had photos on the blog . . . and you did!

Sorry this is so long, I would love to call you, but I know you're so busy with your own full plate. I think of you all nearly every day and am praying for you.