September 14, 2016

How new Life Comes Through Struggles

This article is especially for those of us who are fighting huge obstacles daily, or even every minute of our lives. It doesn’t matter what kind of setbacks we’re talking about; they can all lead to the same kind of feeling:  

  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage
  • Stress
  • Depression

We hurt. Life hurts. We want the pain to stop; it’s more than we can bear.  Just give us at least a temporary break, plllllllease!!!!! Hold back the waterfall of trauma for a minute and give us some breathing room!

One Purpose of Trials: Growth and new Life. Really!

The Bee
 There’s a story about bees in space. Astronauts took some bees up to see how they reacted to a zero-gravity environment.  At first, the bees were buzzing around happily. They were probably relaxed. It was the first time they had been able to fly without working hard.
The Result: They died after four days because their bodies became weak—especially their wings.

The Butterfly
There's another tale about a kind boy who wanted to help a butterfly emerge from the pupa it had created as a caterpillar. He broke open the pupa and gently took the newly-formed butterfly out. He thought he was doing the butterfly a big favor.
The Result: The butterfly died soon because it didn’t have the strength to fly.  It had needed to strengthen its wings by breaking open the pupa.

Piano Playing
Performance of any kind can be anxiety-producing.  My daughter, Caitlin, and I are both sensitive people as well as hobby pianists. For years, when we played, our hands trembled, and we lost focus. This is not unique to us, either. I’ve talked to others who have been through the same challenges. We didn’t allow our feelings overcome us, though; we didn’t stop playing.
The Result:  Caitlin has performed in our church. She has one piano student. I am the pianist for our Kids’ Church organization. I also play occasionally for the residents at my place of work.

Beautiful pieces of china all start out as blobs of clay. Obviously, they cannot be allowed to stay in that condition. Unformed, unbaked clay isn’t of much practical use in everyday life beyond entertaining kids. Here are some of the steps to making pottery:
  • The clay is pressed, squeezed, and shaped to release any bubbles.
  • It is pounded by hand or put on a wheel. During this time, the potter pushes his thumbs and fingers into the clay to mold it.
  • The pottery is decorated.
  • The final product is fired in a kiln in order to make it hard and strong.

My Conclusion

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.”—James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Joy in the face of trials?! Hang in there. That fiery furnace of affliction is making you into a masterpiece of fine china. You need the power that only the refiner’s fire can provide.

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