For the past several weeks I've been doing a bible study with one old* friend and a couple of new friends. We've been going through Kelly Minter's No Other Gods. It's been more than fascinating! Then recently Hubby and I have been reading through Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life**. Technically it's not really A LOT of reading. Each book takes maybe 30 minutes each out of my day.
After reading chapter five of Purpose Driven Life I was curious. The title is "Seeing Life from God's View". As Rick puts it we can see our lives as a circus, a minefield, a roller coaster, a puzzle, etc. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down and sometimes you go round and round. What's my life metaphor?
Am I the rabbit racing through life just to get to the finish line? Or to rush through motherhood? Am I the tortoise taking my time while life speeds past? Warren says that we need to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life.
Romans 12:2 says "Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will". Warren mentions two biblical metaphors that teaches God's view of life.
Life on earth is a Test. He tests our character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty. Adam and Eve failed their test, as well as David on several occasions. But there have been many who have faced and passed their challenges such as Joseph, Ruth, Esther and Daniel.
God is constantly watching my response to people, problems, success, and conflict. I have to admit that I've felt like God has drawn back and let me have control. I don't like it. I joke with Hubby that God isn't speaking to me right now. I'm not even sure if He ever has.
When life is a test nothing is insignificant for character development. And I'm feeling like I'm failing that test miserably.
The second biblical metaphor that Warren mentions is Life is a Trust. God has entrusted to our care opportunities, relationships and resources. We are stewards of what God gives us. Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him." Warren says that it was God's property before I arrived and God will loan it to someone else after I die. I only get to enjoy it for a little while.
At the end of my life I will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well I handled what God entrusted to me. Uh oh! Some days I feel like I am failing that test miserably, as we have struggled with debt, giving God our first fruits, spending on what the needs of the day are as opposed to the wants. I hear over and again that I should not lust after the things of this world, even when I just want to have fun talking about nice things with friends or family. But then I look at all that we have been able to do on one salary that most friends do on two: we are raising two beautiful girls who have everything they need and a mother who has been at home raising them for the past ten years; we have a decent-sized house that is not too big for a family of four; we take nice vacations every 3-4 years; we have been through a round of house remodeling. It's not as much as many of our friends have done, those who go on vacations every year AND have twice the amount of house with a pool. But we are happy and healthy, and we are all friends. Drama is kept to a minimum, and we live in the shadow of God's loving, divine will.
God moments don't feel as dramatic in our household as they might in the lives of others, but our moments with the Devil are few and far between. Tests have been present, and I think we need to do better with what God has entrusted us with (still working on that 10% tithe). But God has been quietly faithful to us all through our lives, giving us what we need and enabling us to follow Him. He has just been there, and in the end that's what friendship and relationship are really about. *Being* there.
And isn't that something?
*I mean we've been friends for a long time, not that she's ancient!
**Very rarely will you ever find me reading through more than one book at a time. One usually ends up being put aside til later or I have no interest in it.