by Sharman J. Monroe
Recently I wanted to sell some diamond rings and a diamond watch that I own to met a financial need. I fell in love with them when I saw them years ago. They were so pretty and sparkly (I love sparkly and glittery things) I had to have them. I wasn’t happy until I bought them. The high prices didn’t bother me. When I took them to the jeweler to see how much money I could get for them now, the jeweler didn’t want them. My items were too niche-y and “not modern enough”; he couldn’t re-sell them.
It was at that moment the Holy Spirit brought this scripture back to my mind:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NJKV)
I was turning to these items to get me out of a tight spot. I was relying on things that are man-made, things that are temporary, to get me out of my affliction. But they could not. They had loss their value. And to make matters worse, God had already told me to stop selling my personal items. When the full gravity of what I did hit me, I confessed my sin and asked God for His forgiveness which He freely gave.
God showed me I was behaving like Abram and Sarai. They had a problem – they were childless in a society that looked down on women who didn’t bear children and they were past their childbearing ages. Although God had promised them an offspring, they decided, in their own wisdom, to fix the problem or help God out. Sarai told Abram to sleep with her servant, Haggai (an accepted custom of the world at that time), and the child she would birth would be Sarai’s child. Abram agreed and Haggai had a son, Ishmael. Well, Ishmael didn’t solve a problem; he was the source of a lot of new problems for Abram and Sarai (Genesis 15-17).
In life, don’t we all, from time to time, turn to things of this world to get us out of problems? I’m not talking about the times when God has directed you to use those things. I’m talking about times when He hasn’t. Times when we, in our own wisdom, decide to fix stuff or help God out. And then we wonder why the things didn’t work.When life’s problems show up, we must look to and rely on God and God only. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). His “value” and ways are constant and permanent. God is omnipotent, omniscient and all-knowing (Psalm 139:1-16) which is why He taught us to seek Him first and He will add to us (Matthew 6:33). Granted, we detest the problems and wish they hadn’t come but God’s thoughts and ways are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8). As 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 teaches, life’s problems are not just to cause turmoil in our life. They have a greater purpose. God has a good plan for us and the problems are part of the plan to conform us to the image of Christ.
The bright side of my story? I learned that I act just like the people in the Bible and if God forgave and blessed them and called them righteous (Romans 4:3), He will do the same for me. I learned I wasn’t as patient in waiting on God as I thought I was so I still have to grow in that area. I gained a more profound understanding of the Word and a deeper level of faith in God, all of which are working in me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.