Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 24, 2008

Sometimes, I Like It

A Page from My Journal
Kurdistan • October 24, 2008

   “It’s always hard,” he said, as he looked at me with intense, piercing eyes set in a face chiseled by hardships. “But sometimes, I like it.” I choked down his words – difficult words prepared on the stovetop of persecution and served to me across the table of our new friendship. These were the words of a 48 year-old pastor who had already endured two imprisonments this year. “Have you been imprisoned?” he asked me, as if it were a normal part of the Christian experience. “No,” I softly replied. “Sometimes, I like it,” he continued, “because my flesh becomes very small and my trust in God grows very big.” Those are words spiced with the kind of insight that is found only in the pantry of dark, dangerous, and terrible places.

   Later in the afternoon, we drove past the place of his imprisonment. He pointed to his cell window. I sat quietly. His wife recalled, “I cried when they took him away and imprisoned him on false charges. I told him that he was like Jesus who was numbered with the transgressors” (Luke 22:37). In prison he found a new congregation among transgressors, men with hearts buried deep beneath the debris of their sinful choices. He tossed aside the encumbering manacles of self-pity and got to work. He determined to allow God to use him in this terrible place.

   The only Bible he carried with him was the one written on the pages of his heart. These memorized passages nourished and sustained him from day to day. Soon, others sought him out for counsel. He shared the gospel with one man who suddenly clutched his heart and asked him to stop. “What are you doing to me?” he shouted. “Something is happening inside, I can feel it.” As it turned out, the man was having a heart-attack — God’s convicting words were attacking and breaking through the barriers surrounding his sinful heart. He waved the white flag of surrender and yielded to Jesus as Lord and Savior. This prisoner set free then raised his hands and shouted this praise: “God brought me to this terrible place so that I could hear this wonderful message.”

   I could not help but think about all of the things we think are hard or uncomfortable and inconvenient. Honestly, what must God think of us when we are so unwilling to sit patiently under any blows from His divine hammer and chisel? What can He do through those who complain every time they find themselves temporarily imprisoned by life’s difficulties? Don’t live a bland and tasteless life. Allow God to use the seasoning of hardships to enrich your relationship with Him. The next time you find yourself in a place where your flesh must grow small, learn to like it so that your trust in God can grow big.


Responses

  1. This is a very convicting entry. One that my heart needed to be reminded of. Thank you.


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