Saturday, July 5, 2014

God Tests His Product

Have you ever wondered what God was doing?

Pioneering a church is hard work and often discouraging. While my husband and I were planting the new church in Gloversville, we often wondered why God allowed things to happen that seemed to be detrimental to the work of starting a new church for Him.

Our first winter in Gloversville, major winter snowstorms struck seven Sundays in a row with fifty percent more snow that year than normal. Just getting to services was a major production. And often, no one else could get there. When we read in Job that God commands the snowflakes, we jokingly asked each other if God was really on our side.

We started the church with no core group. A few who came were already Christians, but developing workers was a challenge. Snowstorms didn't hurt like receiving the early Sunday morning phone call from a Sunday school teacher who had decided to drop out of the church. Or spending all day Saturday helping someone move, carrying furniture up and down flights of stairs, only to be told a few weeks later that we didn't love them. The gut-churning pain of rejection from people we had gone out of our way to help was as sharp as any physical pain.

But the Lord reminded us how people rejected Him. He suffered total rejection on the Cross. We began to, in small measure, experience "the fellowship of His suffering" (Philippians 3:10).

Our district director of new church plantings at that time, Rev. Leon Miles,  pointed out that God was not only building a new church. He was building us too. We learned to lean harder on Jesus, as we began to understand what it means to suffer hardship as "good soldiers of Jesus Christ." And we grew stronger.

God builds people. No good manufacturer would put his product on the market without testing it first. God tests His product too. And little by little, our church grew, and so did we.

James wrote, "When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." Really? Joy? Yes! "For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing" (1:2-4, NLT).

When trials come your way and you don't understand why, just cling to Jesus and remember that God is perfecting you.

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