Genie in a Bottle
I find it interesting that we — and I really mean me — treat the Lord like a genie in a bottle sometimes. We go through a trial, and we want the Lord to immediately “fix it” and take the pain or discomfort away. Lately, I've had a pity party for myself. We've had some adversity. Here are some examples:
My wife, Gina, and I have started hosting a “Pasta and Passage” every other Sunday in our home after church service. We eat spaghetti and then study The Book of Mormon, chapter by chapter. The attendance has been pretty good, between 20 to 25 people regularly. I think it no coincidence that on three of these Sundays we've had our upstairs air conditioning go out. The A/C hasn’t gone out any other time, and on the Monday or Tuesday of the following week, the A/C has been repaired. With the A/C out, the upstairs temperature climbs to 90 degrees, and it makes it hard for the kids to go into the playroom so the adults can study. Coincidence? No. Satanic attack? Yes. Satan would've liked us to cancel. Cancel often enough, and people will lose interest.
Over the last three months, Gina and I have had our personal information stolen. Apparently, I purchased two new cars — I hope they were NICE! Truth be told, we never purchased new cars; our bank accounts were hacked. Gina and I have had to change bank accounts and credit cards, file police reports, and talk to people who have had checks bounce — and it wasn’t us that wrote them.
My children from my first marriage (ages 29, 24, and 22) won’t talk to me any longer because of the affiliation I now have with The Church of Jesus Christ. This has been the most painful, as I have always been close to my children. I'd been a single dad for nine years before I met Gina.
See, it is easy for me to cry out to the Lord and want Him to fix these things — and now, please! Yet, The Bible gives us examples of men who have been persecuted, and the Lord allowed this to continue for some time, sometimes at great cost. I think of Job, who lost everything of material value and even his family. Yet, he said in Job 1:21, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
I also think about Joseph. He was his father’s favorite. His brothers sold him into slavery. He was put into a position of high trust by the king, and then he was falsely accused of rape. He was thrown into prison. He was an innocent man. Yet, through all of this, I never read of him having a pity party or even complaining. Yet, what happened to Joseph in the end of the story? In Genesis 37 to 40, we read that the Lord allowed Joseph to go through the trials, but in the end, the Lord rescued Joseph, and you can see how the Lord was preparing all the time to use Joseph in a mighty way.
So, in all of this, I learn a couple of things I can hold on to through trials:
2 Timothy 3:12: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
John 16:33: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
In all of life, we may seem like we are losing in the third quarter, but we know Who wins the game. Don’t give up and don’t give in. The Lord gives us examples of what happens to those who stay faithful, but He does it in His time and not in ours. Keep the faith in the Lord, and know that He will prove faithful.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.