Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall

(pic source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpty_Dumpty)

Humpty Dumpty is a nursery rhyme which I learnt as a kid and it is so ingrained in me that I still remember it till this day. Last week, I had a chat with two sisters-in-grace and we had a mini-discussion on the “brokenness” and the “breaking process” of a Christian. I have been thinking about this for the past few days and Humpty Dumpty came to my mind.

God was speaking to me through Humpty Dumpty. He (God, not Humpty Dumpty) asked me, “How did Humpty Dumpty fall?” Hmmm, I have never really thought about this but I have always assumed that he fell down on his own. God said,”Exactly! He fell on his own but have you thought about the fact that Humpty Dumpty has no business sitting on a wall in the first place? He is setting himself up for a fall! Many of you think that I am the one who sat Humpty Dumpty on the wall and pushed him off!”

Many Christians hold this belief that when they are going through trials, it is because God is “refining” them or bringing them to a state of “brokenness” (Steve McVey calls this the “breaking process”) so that He can transform them. Steve McVey, in his book “Grace Walk” wrote that “brokenness is a condition that exists when a person has given up all confidence in his own ability to manage life.” I tend to agree with this definition of “brokenness” but God is not the one who brought this “breaking process” upon you.

When we, Christians experience trials and tribulations, many of us like to think that God is the one who sent them to teach us a lesson. However, I must stress that this is not true, God does not send us trials and tribulations. In John 16:33, Jesus says “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Take note that Jesus said you will have tribulation BUT He did not say that He gives you the tribulation. Many times, if we are honest, we’ll have to admit that we brought trouble upon ourselves and sometimes it is the devil, working through other people, who attacks us for the devil comes only “to steal and kill and destroy”. (John 10:10)

Let’s take a look at the life of Joseph (Genesis 37 – 50). Joseph went through a lot of trials and tribulations before he eventually became the top official of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Did God give Joseph those trials and tribulations to break him? No! In fact, “The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered” (Gen 39:2).

Who threw Joseph into the pit? His brothers, not God! Who sold Joseph as a slave? His brothers, not God!! Who falsely accused Joseph of attempted rape? Potiphar’s wife, not God!! Who threw Joseph into prison? Potiphar, not God! You say God is working through those people to bring trials and tribulations on Joseph? But how can God work evil?! “How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?” (2 Cor 6:14-15)

Let’s also take a look at the life of the younger son in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-42). The younger son demanded his share of his father’s possessions and wasted it all on prodigal living and eventually became dead broke. He even had to get a job feeding pigs in order to survive. Imagine this, a JEW feeding PIGS! Did Jesus say that God put the younger son into that situation to break him? No! The younger son did that to himself! However, the younger son was eventually restored by his father when he was utterly broken (ie. “has given up all confidence in his own ability to manage life”) and decided to return to his father.

Psalm 23:1-3 says:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honour to his name.

God does not lead us into trials and tribulations; He leads us to peace and rest, He renews our strength and guides us along right paths. When we get into trouble, usually it is own fault; as Psalm 23:4a says “Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” – take note that the verse says “I walk”, it does not say “He leads me to walk”.

However, even though we are not led but choose to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God walks through with us to bring us out of the valley – Psalm 23:4b “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Do not malign God; God does not break us, He restores us. He does not put us through all the trials and tribulations that we bring upon ourselves or the devil attacks with BUT He will walk with us through them all and bring us safely out. God is not the one who “breaks” us, we sat on the wall and fell!

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory
.” Matthew 12:20


Kat said...

Hi Stan,
I totally agree that God is not the author of bad things. John 10:10 says "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows)."
Jesus came that we may enjoy life...He can't be the giver of trials and enjoyment at the same time. God doesn't break us, just like the shepherd who lost the one sheep did not break the sheep's leg but carried it on his shoulder.
Trials are either from the devil or due to our own doing. When we know that God is not the author of these trials but the giver of grace, we can be sure that He will carry us on His shoulders when we face trials. Every bad situation then becomes an opportunity to exercise our faith for there is only one fight left, the fight of faith.

Angie said...

Amen! I like what Kat said esp the part on "Every bad situation then becomes an opportunity to exercise our faith for there is only one fight left, the fight of faith!"

I believe God wants us to put the focus (back) on the finished work of His Son, Jesus, where we have been "clothed with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as we learn more & more about Christ, who created this new nature within us" (Col 3:10 NLT) and that we have been made complete through our union with Him (Col 2:10)

Just like today's devotional that says "David’s secret was that he was only conscious of victory and not defeat, because he knew a God who had rescued him time and again."

In the same way, when we set our minds on the above truths; through unveiled faces beholding the Person of Christ, we will be "transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.." (2 Cor 3:18)

I believe it is not in those trials/refining periods that transforms us. It is through our renewed minds. :)