In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered a number of potential setbacks:
1) Dropping my beloved iPhone in the toilet [see this post]
2) Having my license suspended for forgetting to pay off a ticket (and I thought paying off one of the two would at least earn some pity!)
3) Finally saving the money to pay my registration just so that my car could fail the smog test…. (My other ticket was for expired registration last year too)
4) Needing an additional $400 for my car to pass the smog test (that’s only if that part is actually the problem)
5) Running out of money. (Save for my emergency fund which isn’t enough to help yet…)
6) Suddenly being called to work my janitor job nearly every day last week ( On two days, I actually worked all three jobs!)
7) A sore throat that refuses to go away, and sudden bouts of exhaustion (which I probably shouldn’t be surprised by)
8) Three close friends experiencing substantial losses and me bearing their burdens by doing a lot of listening and praying
Now, this isn’t to say that the last few weeks have been hell, far from it! I’ve learned something profound in all the “bad things” though. My “Eureka!” moment came last weekend while I was at a conference in Corona. I had come to the conference for a single reason: Propaganda would be performing there. I didn’t know what, or for how long, but he was nearby, and I wanted to snatch up the opportunity to speak to him in person.
It was well worth it too. He’s a rapper who is just as genuine in person as you might expect him to be after hearing his rap or poetry. He speaks with a passion quite comparable to his poetry but perhaps more casually, and it is infectious; when I saw him, he was having a conversation with a group of older ladies, smiling broadly while answering their questions and signing their CDs. As soon as he saw me there was a brightness in his eyes as he stepped from behind his merchandise table and embraced me as if we were friends, I mean, I guess we are… But you know what I mean lol. He genuinely embodies the term “Humble Beast“, unashamed of admitting to his obvious talent and quick to admit that it was only a gift. He talked about tour and travel, discipleship with his Humble Beast family, teaching techniques, and asked me questions about how I’d been, even going as far as to rail me for assuming that he wouldn’t remember the first time we met in person (I still don’t know how he remembers me from 5 years ago!). As I shared just a few of the recent happenings in my life, and what God had been teaching me through them, he complimented my perspective and quite perceptively added some wisdom.
“Isn’t it amazing that God cares enough about your character to so meticulously have a bunch of little things nitpicking you?”
He said it on purpose. I know it. I’m so thankful for wise and insightful people in my life, he listened to my heart and told me exactly what I needed to learn. He wasn’t condescending in the slightest manner and he wasn’t simply impressed that I have a firm grasp of theology, he really listened to me. I wasn’t looking for anything, but the words he responded with were exactly what I needed. Relentlessly reading a Bible verse again and again to understand it doesn’t mean that you’ve taken it to heart. I learned this that day.
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” – Hebrews 12:5-6
I’ve known this verse for a long time, and I’ve often quoted in regards to my hardship, but I’ve never felt it sink into my soul like it did then. Each of my circumstances has come upon me not simply because I was wrong and God is just and punishes me, but because He loves me and He wants the best for me. He wants me to be honorable, noble, and full of integrity, so he’s chipping off the areas that are keeping me from that. He doesn’t discipline me because I’m wrong. He disciplines me because He loves me and it’ll bring out the best in me! That completely changes my view of punishment in general! That changes the way I will punish my kids, and even the kids at school, because I can honestly be more hungry for justice than I am for character development and life change, and that isn’t acceptable. Why? Because that’s not how God treats me. And I don’t want to cut corners to get through these situations, I want to grow all I can from them, so it’s okay if it takes a little more time than I’d like. Can you name a situation in your life where God used something bad or hard to develop your character? Was it worth it?