The temperature is just right

I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. (Anne Frank)

After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. (I Peter 5:10)

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." (Corrie ten Boom) For those who are not familiar with Corrie, let me give you just a little background. She came from a family of Dutch watchmakers during the time of Hitler's regime. She and her family did much to protect the Jews fleeing the concentration camps and the horror that awaited them - hiding many in their attic space and providing for their daily needs. The motto of their household: "In this household, God's people are always welcome." She endured hardship upon hardship, including her arrest and detention in a political concentration camp. Yet, in all she endured, one theme comes through repeatedly in her writings and in her personal testimony. 

I had the privilege of sitting with her one night in a small group and seeing her faith. I didn't just 'read about' or 'hear about' her faith - I observed it living and breathing before me. One of the most profound things she said has stuck with me over the years and given me much insight into my own struggles. She told us, "Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open." We hold on so tightly to things we should not be so attached to, especially bitterness - the root of it being unwilling to let go of a wrong another has done to us. She always reminded others that the human 'will' may not want to forgive, but the 'will' is driven by the heart. The 'temperature' of the heart can be changed by the presence of God in your heart.

Herein is the hope we need to latch onto - God may allow suffering for a while - but he will not abandon us in it. The 'temperature' of our heart may grow colder and colder as the suffering becomes longer and longer but know this - the embers of his grace and love can rekindle that flame of faith. How? The answer lies in something else Corrie said, "If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God, you'll be at rest." The 'rest' comes when the temperature of our heart begins to change, and the attitude of our spirit begins to reflect his grace and love once again. We cannot always avoid suffering - even when we are doing the right things. When it comes, WHO we face it with will determine the 'temperature' of our hearts. When that is Jesus, the temperature will be 'just right'. Just sayin!


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