Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)
By Joey Parker
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After spending months in seclusion, he’d finally started to venture out regularly. He’d been struggling to come to grips with the man he now was. He’d been a police officer for so long that, when they’d fired him, he was lost. He didn’t know who he was anymore. He didn’t identify himself as a husband, a father, or a man. He was a cop. First and foremost. It overshadowed everything else…including his Christianity.
Since losing his job, Jacob’s relationship with God had evolved. At first, he was angry with Him and recalled shouting at the ceiling in impotent frustration. God was all-powerful. He was in control of everything so he was responsible for this. Jacob put his blame squarely in God’s lap and let Him have it.
At the same time, Jacob would break down in emotional fits where he’d cry out to God for comfort and help just as a child cries out to their mother when they get a booboo. He was a wreck that frightened his wife with what he may do if left alone too long, and confused his children, who didn’t know how to handle seeing their daddy broken.
Over time, opportunities to serve at his church presented themselves. In the beginning, it was small projects that just required a little elbow grease and time. He reluctantly joined the retired men at church in these activities, always afraid someone would try to talk to him about why he was available to be there.
The small jobs became larger as he served his church on construction projects and community outreach. Eventually, and without him realizing it, he stopped worrying so much about his situation as more and more ways to serve presented themselves. His days were occupied with time spent in fellowship with other believers.
His prayers went from confrontational and demanding to submissive and humble. He quit blaming God for his trouble and began trusting Him instead. God slowly molded him as a potter works with clay. He still missed the weight of his badge and the responsibility that came with it but he came to treasure the time he was able to spend in service because of its absence.
This isn’t to say that he didn’t have bad days. Some days the anger welled up in him and he’d vent to God about his situation but, as time went on, his outbursts became fewer. His need to seek God’s forgiveness following these fits came quicker.
It was following a bad day that Jacob would give serious thought to all he’d experienced from God in the last year. He was now leading his family in a devotional every day and was teaching his young ones how to pray. He’d been tasked with teaching a class to youth that he’d not wanted nor asked for, but he had felt God pulling him to it so he’d obeyed. The bonds he’d formed with that class was a blessing.
Every day he was seeing fruit in his life that he’d never thought he’d ever see. Fruit that he thought was limited to stronger Christians. Before losing his job, Jacob never would have thought to lead his family in prayer or teach young people. God’s molding of him had made it possible.
Despite the hardships of the last year, he knew he wouldn’t trade it because it was worth losing who he had been to become who he was.
In Hebrews 12:2, it is said that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Perfection comes by being thrust into the fire to be purified. It’s painful and we don’t like it but God, in his perfecting love, desires us to be more than we are. It is how we know we are His. If we are facing trials in our life, we can be secure that God, our Father and our friend, is orchestrating it for our good.
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