The Blessings of Trials
by Don Watson
I hopped into my car, put the keys into the ignition, and drove off to run some errands. No sooner had I gotten onto the highway, however, till I noticed a fly in my car. He was happy as a fly could be. There were cookie crumbs in the back seat that Julian had dropped yesterday, a morsel or two of my bear claw I had bought at the new home made donut store down town, and some Sprite residue that had dried in the cup holder. He was set in the food department and he was in Fly Heaven – except for the fact that he was trapped inside my little car. He was going to suffocate and fry from the hundred and twenty degree heat that my car would generate with the windows closed in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. Fact was: He wasn’t in Fly Heaven at all – he was in Fly Hell, but he was oblivious!
Did he know, however, that he was getting ready to experience a “window” of opportunity – a brief period of probation – in which He could repent and return to the big world of fresh air outside the mobile inferno in which he had inadvertently been caught? I would be his savior. I pushed the right rear window button and felt the suck of the wind passing the opening. I imagined the fly feeling the same thing I did but magnified hundreds of times. He was being sucked away from what he perceived was a haven of safety, complete with food, shelter, and security – it was all being taken away. He beat his wings frantically trying to maintain his position inside this virtual cafeteria of delight, but it was to no avail. Little by little he was being sucked from this room of calm into a hurricane of 70 mile an hour winds, and certain death – or so he thought. But in fact, this trial, this calamity befalling him was actually a blessing and even salvation.
If the fly were a human, he would be yelling right now, “Where are You, God? Why did you give me all that food and fabulous accommodations to simply take it all away?” Like the disciples in the boat being battered by a horrific storm, he would be yelling, “Lord, don’t you even care that I am perishing?”
But on the other side of the window, on the other side of the storm – no matter how horrific, there’s peace and safety whether we realize it or not. Many times we don’t even realize the magnitude of what God has delivered us from. We think, while we’re in the midst of this “window storm” God is taking away, but, in fact, he’s giving – saving us from things that are destructive – evil things that would happen if we stay in the car.
Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace? What do you think they are thinking in mid-air – you know that split second period of time when everything seems to turn into slow motion? “God, I really don’t understand what you are doing right now. I mean, we were faithful and everything – didn’t bow down to the King’s golden image. What good is this fiery furnace going to do? We’ll simply be another 3 notches on the king’s gun belt. But on the other side, they’re promoted, given crazy wealth, and the entire Kingdom of Babylon is exposed to this radical, loving God who actually comes down from the heavens to be with, and deliver 3 of His children from certain death. But they only see that on the other side of the furnace. And the fly will only experience continued life on the other side of the window. Perhaps here, after our trial, we’ll only see some of it, but eventually, on the other side of this earthly window, we’ll see it all – the blessings, the closer relationship, people growing and being saved because of our experience, people seeing God differently, learning to trust Him more next time. One day, we’ll see, it’s all good.
For now, I realize if you’re the fly, it seems really bad when “someone” opens that window and you’re being sucked out into the hurricane, but just be patient, relax and let the wind, the Spirit, take you through that window, that storm, that furnace, or wherever He wants you to go. It’s all good, even though it “sucks” right now.
1 Peter 4:12-13 “ Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory (His Character) when it is revealed to all the world.”
And that’s Grace, Family
Love you all, Pastor Don