Friday, September 25, 2009

It's Friday! Breathe it in!

Friday Friday Friday....latte on my desk, autumn in my heart! YES!

A good day! We have a soccer game tonight, Nick has an audition at a children's theatre group, and then a hotdog roast in the backyard with mom and dad. A good day!

So here is a little of what has been mulling around in my mind:

The fragrance of crushed fruit.

I was reading a couple days ago, in the devotional I am doing (by Beth Moore on the life of John), and that particular days verses were Rev 2:8-11 about the church in Smyrna.

"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. "

Beth shared how the plumbing architecture of the city of Smyrna, according to historians, made it so the bay waters caused a bad smell over the whole city. That most of the Christians lived in the slums. But "from the hidden slums, however, rose a fragrant incense of great expense. No perfume is more costly and more aromatic to God than faithfulness of believers who are suffering." (p. 321)

"I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations." Ezek 20:41

"For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 2 Cor 2:15

So I was thinking....about being rich and about suffering. I have been so much more aware lately, of a changed perspective on how favored and blessed we are in the US culture. Even the poorest among us is often much better off than most in many other countries. Whether its from learning the plight of many of the poor and orphans of the world, or through several books I have read lately, it is hard for me to get upset or overly despairing over any of my problems, when I think of how far worse it could be.

And yet, I was also thinking how all suffering is relative. I believe people are resilient enough, that we can grow pretty much accustom to anything. Suffering may well be temporary. It feels like suffering, until we become accustom to it. Suffering for one person is different than for another. So when we think of suffering, in one sense, it is enlightening to compare and realize, this may not be so bad, yet in another sense, this is the life we have been given, the row we have been assigned to hoe, and how we handle the suffering on our row is our personal challenge.

We do not ask for suffering, or greater suffering, yet we should not ask for it all to be removed, for life to be a breeze, for no personal challenges to come our else will we develop richness? How will we know what true riches are?

I just finished the book, "Also Known as Harper", by Ann Haywood Leal. I loved it. More written for 4th to 7th graders perhaps, but I enjoyed it. It was about a mother and her two children, who became homeless and the people they connected with, and the lessons they learned and the sifting of priorities in a young girls heart. I highly recommend it. In the end, she was truly rich in what mattered. Her family, and some good caring friends.

In the devotional I read, it asked: "What things do you desire to be rich in?"

And I thought: The fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, self-control, goodness, faith. That is what I want to be rich in. When I suffer, whether my suffering is a cranky child, or three little picky eaters who refuse to eat after momma's plannin' and cookin', or living from paycheck to paycheck, or .....not getting to spend on my every whim, or many far worse, far more serious, far harder challenges that could (and some will) cross my path... when I suffer, I want the suffering to squeeze the fruit of the spirit in my heart, so a fragrant juice comes running out. A perfume toward heaven and a refreshing to those around me.

That's what I want. That's what I want to be rich in. That's what I want to breathe in. I want to be impoverished in the material and mental distractions of this world and rich in God and family and living fruit.

What things do you desire to be rich in?

1 Things Others Said:

Anonymous said...

This day's posting is so good. You are very special.