Summary: Making the Most of the Good and the Bad - Rom. 8:28,29
Making the Most of the Good & the Bad – Rom. 8:28
The year was 1920. The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries. Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald Smith. One dream dominated his heart. He wanted to be a missionary. Over and over again, he prayed, "Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me." Now, at last, his prayer would be answered. When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. He did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test. Oswald Smith had set his direction, but now life gave him a detour. What would he do? As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted another idea in his heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church which could send out missionaries. And that is what he did. Oswald Smith pastored The People’s Church in Toronto, Canada, which sent out more missionaries than any other church at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his detour into a main thoroughfare of service.
Brian L. Harbour, Rising Above the Crowd.
STATISTICS AND STUFF
Detours, when we get off the main road, can be frustrating and time consuming. Yet in the spiritual life, God seems to allow us to be detoured. One of the longest detours of all time happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness. What should have taken them eleven days to enter the Promised Land turned into a forty-year detour in the desert. That detour was due to their deplorable lack of faith in God’s conquering power. On the other hand, there were those who may have thought they were being detoured by God, but who later found they were on God’s perfect road of blessing all along. Consider: 1) Moses was detoured into submission. Those forty years in the wilderness tending sheep were not a waste, but actually a training ground for tending Israel later on. The desert experience took all the trust in the arm of flesh out of Moses (Exodus 3,4). 2) Paul was detoured into learning. "I went into Arabia...then after three years I went up to Jerusalem" (Galatians 1:17,18). Those years were good for Paul, so that he might learn of Christ and be trained for service. 3) Philip was detoured from many, to one. He went from winning multitudes, to winning one man, the Etheopian eunuch; from a great revival to a singular witnessing experience. This story shows the Lord’s estimation of the value of one soul. 4) Enoch and Elijah were detoured into heaven (Genesis 5:24, II Kings 2:11). Is today the day we will experience the same?
The Daily Bread.
"Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."
Illustration:W. H. Griffith on p. 467 on his outlines in Acts gives this great illustration:
"An elderly Christian woman, very poor but noted for her constant activity, was laid aside by illness and her neighbors asked her how she could bear it? She answered, "When I was well, the Lord, said, "Betty, go here and Betty go there, but now He says, "Betty, lie still and cough! She had learned the lesson of life in relation to the will of God; and something like this must have been Paul’s experience as he was cut off (and unjustly so) from his desired activities for the gospel." Still, Paul wrote, "God works all things together for good for those who love God and to those who are called according to His purposes." (Rom. 8:28,29)
1. LOVINGLY ACCEPT WHATEVER GOD ALLOWS TO COME INTO YOUR LIFE KNOWING HE CAN WORK ALL THINGS TOGETHER FOR GOOD. (ROM. 8:28,29)
I had always thought of hurricanes as something mankind could do without. But recently I learned that they are necessary to maintain a balance in nature. These tropical storms, with winds up to 150 miles an hour and accompanied by torrential rains, glaring lightning, and rumbling thunder, can be devastating. Yet scientists tell us they are tremendously valuable. They dissipate a large percentage of the oppressive heat which builds up at the equator, and they are indirectly responsible for much of the rainfall in North and South America. Meteorologists therefore no longer use cloud-seeding techniques to prevent them from being formed. They are convinced that hurricanes actually do more good than harm.
The Bible teaches us that the afflictions of God’s people are like that. Though they bring temporary pain and grief, they can produce eternal dividends. (Psalm 119:75)
See: Eccl 1:6; 2 Cor 4:17
2. ASK GOD FOR THE GRACE TO NOT INTERNALIZE HURT
A. YOU MAY BE CONDITIONED TO BE CRITICAL
Illustration: Value of Life A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read ’Puppies for Sale.’ These signs had a weird way of attracting children. And sure enough, a little boy appeared at the sign. "How much are you gonna sell those puppies for?" he asked. The store owner replied" Anywhere from $30-$50." The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37, can I have a look at them?" The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said "What’s wrong with that little dog?" The store owner explained that when the puppy was born, the vet had said that the puppy had no hip socket and would limp for the rest of its life. The little boy got really excited and said "That’s the puppy I wanna buy!" The store owner replied "No, you don’t wanna buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll give him to you." The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger and said, "I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as the other dogs and I’ll pay the full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now and 50 cents every month until I have him paid for." The store owner countered, "You really don’t want to buy this puppy. He is never gonna be able to run, jump and play like other puppies!" To this the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and said softly, "Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands." IN LIFE, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO YOU ARE, BUT WHETHER SOMEONE APPRECIATES YOU FOR WHAT YOU ARE.