The Crisis Reveals the Character

And it’s Monday again. Monday, September 10, 2012. Good morning. Today is “TV Dinner Day.” So in honor of that, I give you this:

On this date in 1991, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana, was released as a single.
On this date in 1962, Rod Laver won the U.S. Open, making him the first man to win tennis’s “Grand Slam” since Don Budge in 1938.
And on this date in 1897, London taxi driver George Smith (a likely name, right?) became the first person ever arrested for drunk driving.
Over all, today was a pretty boring day in history. I guess that was to make way for tomorrow.

We had a nice day yesterday. After church, we had lunch at Fuzzy’s Tacos. They have some killer nachos. Michael had lunch with us, so we got to know him a little better. Then we had a nice rest. Well, Stephanie and I rested. Christi decided to go give blood, then went shopping. I had a little nap, after which Stephanie and I went to the “Ignite” prayer meeting at church. While we had a simple dinner of leftovers (chicken from the grill on Saturday, and some chili from one night last week), Christi and I watched “Midnight in Paris,” which I found to be a delightful movie.

Father, I pray that you would shoe me something this morning that will help me live this day looking to you.

Today, I’m reading Psalm 102. This psalm is serious and somber, being subtitled “A prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.”

Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!

After the opening plea for God to hear his prayer, the psalmist gets down to how he is feeling.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. (4)
For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

However, he quickly gets over himself, and switches his attention to God.
But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. (12)
Nations will fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. (15)
Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,
that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD, and in Jerusalem his praise,
when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.

The psalm closes out with some beautiful lines.
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

My Utmost For His Highest
…when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. John 1:48
These were the words of Jesus, spoken to Nathaniel, after Phillip brought Nathaniel to meet Jesus.

We all think we will be alright when the big crisis comes, that we will “rise to the occasion.” But we won’t, “unless [we] have risen to the occasion in the workshop, unless [we] have been the real thing before God there.” If we are not doing the thing that is right in front of, no matter how trivial, when the crisis comes, we will be “revealed as unfit.” “Crises always reveal character.”

“The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness.” Jesus saw Nathaniel while he was under the fig tree. There will come a time when “under the fig tree” is no longer possible, and we will be thrust into the thick of things. If I have not been worshiping God at home, in private, when that times comes, I will be of no value. But, if, in the “unseen life which no one saw but God,” I have become fit, then I will be reliable when the crisis comes.

We claim we don’t have time to read the Bible or pray because of our circumstances, and that, when the time comes, we will be all right. “No, you will not. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.”

Our workshop for our mission is the hidden, personal, worshiping life. And that is why I am here, every morning, pounding out this devotional. It’s not completely “hidden,” as I put it out here in the blogosphere. But it is my training room for the crisis. I pray that I will be found fit.

Yes, Father, that is exactly my prayer. That this “workshop” will make me fit for the real test, whenever it comes. Make me a fit saint, Lord, for the true times of testing that will arise in my life. I believe that you have been doing this, and I think that you have revealed to me some things that revolve around my current service in the church we are attending. There are reasons behind everything, and, while I may not know them all just yet, I trust you, and I trust what you are doing. I pray that you continue to mold me and make me what you want me to be. Strengthen my faith as I make this journey. Deepen my love and devotion for you and for Christ. Prepare me for whatever lies ahead.

I pray for this day today. I pray that Christi will have a good work day. I thank you that her hip is feeling better, and now pray for relief for her back issues. I pray that the MRI proceedings will go quickly so that we can get a look at what the problem is and what can be done to fix it. Ultimately, I pray that you would touch her and heal her back. I pray that Stephanie will have a good day today, and that my work day will go smoothly, with no issues.

Your grace is sufficient.

We must prepare ourselves for the real tests of life, the crises that will come and reveal the true character. I pray that I will be found fit.

Grace and peace, friends.

4 thoughts on “The Crisis Reveals the Character

  1. Praise God for your words! These same thoughts have been on my mind a lot recently. I have trouble memorizing verses and retaining them for any length of time. I have been feeling the need to read my Bible every spare minute that I can find, making me wonder if I will soon be where I won’t have one. I wrote an article last week on having peace in trials because I had felt the Lord was telling me to follow Jesus’s example in John 13. I found myself wondering if I was being warned ahead of time of things that may be heading my way. Your words have been an encouragement and a blessing. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Drusilla. Your comment highlights one of the main reasons I put these devotions online. I’m humbled that God can use them to bless and encourage people.

  2. I am like Drusilla, in that I keep feeling like He is training me. Thank you so much Jeff, for this really hits the spot for me. God bless you and yours!

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