Trust and green beans
Have you noticed how life sometimes can be all marshmallows, donuts and chocolate cake? Everything goes smoothly and there are very few bumps in the road. Words and phrases like ‘blessings’ and ‘God is good’ easily flow from your tongue. It’s sunny season and everything is going well. Then at other times it seems to be broccoli, spinach and green beans. I actually like broccoli and spinach, but green beans just don’t tickle my fancy. What I’m getting at is that sometimes everything is veggies and no dessert. If feels like whatever can go wrong does go wrong and nothing you do makes the least bit of difference. Your speech is littered with words like ‘attacks’, ‘bad luck’ and ‘everything happens is threes’. Recognise it? That is how life seems to work. You might even think that God has forgotten you while everyone around you is going back for second and third portions of dessert, you are still stuck with the first plate of rapidly decaying green beans.
The good news is that God has not forgotten about you.
Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave of forsake you.
Isaiah 41:10, fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am you God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
While you are going through the hard times, God says that He is right there with you. He is strengthening you.
Psalm 46:1-3, God is our courage and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
These verses are speaking of much worse things than a plate full of veggies. To me it sounds like volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Disaster and destruction.
Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
God’s rod and staff speak to me about His commands and His ordinances. The rules we have been given to live by. We follow the rules and we know that God will come through for us. In the New Testament we have the example of Jesus. Jesus died for us so that we can be saved. We hold onto Him and we know that we are going to be saved. There is no doubt.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
We must not disregard the Old Testament and all the encouragement it gives. Everything works together as a whole toward our good.
I just want to come back to Isaiah 41:10 where it says God will strengthen us. Vegetables might not be everyone’s favourite food, but they are vital in every diet. We get so many essential vitamins, minerals and iron from vegetables that it will be very naive to think we can exclude them from our diet and still be healthy and have the same benefits as those who regularly eat them. The same goes for hard times. There’s a regularly quoted line that says, “you grow in the valleys, not on the mountain tops”. It is so, if we don’t go through the valleys of life and learn from them we are not going to grow in character or in faith. We need to experience hard times so that we can die to our own wants and start relying on God and start listening to, and following His voice.
Just think of that plate of veggies. If you don’t just eat the green beans and empty the plate, it’s going to be staring into your face for a long time. Let us just face the hard times the same way. Face them with the right attitude and with faith in God so that we can gain their benefits and get on with life.