Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)
TITLE: Another Broken Morsel
By Susan Gurney
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Think about this miracle for a moment. What if Jesus had been handed the five loaves and two fish and had simply told the disciples to pass them out “as is?” Would the bread and fish have been multiplied to feed the thousands of people who had gathered to listen to Jesus that day? Or would only a few families have left that place with their physical hunger satisfied because the food was not blessed with gratitude and broken for use?
I often go through life thinking how much easier things would be if God would just let everything go smoothly for my family and me. No heartaches, no pain, no grief, no sadness, no strife, no lack, no sudden disasters, no emptying bank account... “Ah, now that would be the life,” I sigh wistfully. I think my daughter agrees. When told for the umpteenth time that she can’t have this or that because there isn’t enough money, she often replies, “Life would sure be better if we didn’t have to have money for everything!”
It’s easy for me to discount her comment about money as childish wishful thinking, but how do I then explain to this gentle twelve year old the bigger “whys” of life? Why did she have to sprain her ankle in the first ten minutes of her first volleyball tournament game; and why the very next day did she have to hobble on crutches into the memorial service for her murdered 28 year old step-sister? Why is her dad sitting next to her with a brace on his knee needing a cane to walk, while her mother sits on the other side squinting to see out of one eye because she had to have glaucoma surgery on the other one two weeks ago? Why? Why? Why?
As Christians we seem to know how to give pat answers: “We live in a fallen world.” “The world is full of sin.” “Some things just happen.” “Bad things happen to the good as well as to the bad.” Those pat answers aren’t always all that comforting, though. In fact, when going through those hard “why” times, even scripture can seem more baffling than comforting.
Fifteen years ago I was reading aloud to my husband from James 1: 2. I read this from the NIV: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I stopped reading, and my husband and I immediately burst out laughing--through our tears, that is! We were in the midst of a year full of overwhelming burdens for our family. The idea of finding joy in the midst of all that stress and mayhem was laughable to us at the time. But then we read on in James 1:2-4. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV) As the next few months went by we saw this scripture played out in our lives through a series of God-given miracles both large and small. Yes, we had trials. Yes, those trials seemed to break us at times. But we persevered, God was faithful, our faith grew and our joy--ultimately--was abundant! Most amazing of all, my growth from being broken brought the precious fruit of having many others encouraged in their faith through my testimony.
Through the past hard-won lessons of being a broken morsel for God so others could be blessed, I found that I was able to go through our recent family trials with perseverance, strength, hope and the peace that only God can give. My prayer is that my daughter will learn that same lesson through my example, as well as through her own experiences with our faithful Lord.
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