Thursday, March 20, 2008

The grass isn't always greener...

I've met some rather acerbic people over the years, many of whom have successfully navigated through hardship and difficulty and come through the other side with dramatic improvements to their character. I find that the little "course corrections" brought on by difficulty and hardship are often the catalysts for a greater "work" of God in your life. God is clearly not the author of our woes and worries, but that doesn't mean He can't and doesn't use them to prune us until we are flowering and leafing just the way He wants us to.

Recently, Sola and I had some friends over for dinner who shared with us that they had literally set their lawn on fire and burned it till it was black! Apparently, in order to have a significantly greener lawn in the summer, you must burn away the dead brown grass in the spring. It looks pretty drab for a while, especially since all your neighbors have brown lawns and you're the only one sporting a black lawn. But once the new growth begins, the burned dry grass actually acts as nutrients for the soil and the new grass comes in healthier and greener. Wow! Who would have "thunk" it? It kind of reminds me of God's pruning process. It's painful to burn away the impurities in our lives, and for a while we don't really look that good. But the cycle doesn't end with the burning or pruning. That's just the beginning. It would appear that this is an age old truth that the Church would do well to remember as we seek God's greater purpose for our lives. I've been reading a lot about what a number of people have said concerning difficulties and God's purpose:

When God is about to do something great, He starts with a difficulty. When He is about to do something truly magnificent, He starts with an impossibility. - Armin Gesswein

Embedded somewhere in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered - Garris Elkins

I found out for my own life that breakthroughs are normally camped right outside my comfort zone. - Dino Rizzo

We shouldn't give leadership to people who have never been broken. - T.D. Jakes

Do you know any great quotes that point us to God's purpose being accomplished through hardship or difficulty?


Hope said...

I have a hard enough time recalling scripture so great quotes ... I don't think so. I'll just absorb the ones you've provided. As for the burning grass ... lots of people do this in Canada. I think green grass is kind of a status symbol up here. If I could get the mailman to stop walking on mine ... Difficulties were something I always blamed God for before I gave my heart to Him. Now they are opportunities for Him to grow in me. The grass may look greener on the other side, but we should always remember it still has to get mowed.

Ms Harkins said...

Great post as usual. There is little silly small phrase used in sports that you can apply in almost everything in life... "no pain, no gain". There is no reward if you dont work hard, there is no growping up without facing some (or many) difficulties.

Sorry Joseph, no impact sentences or proverbs... just 4 words.

ps: are the loyal readers going to get an easter egg????

Joseph said...

Hope, how true it is that we should remember that we have to mow and maintain the green grass.

Alison, you are absolutely correct and I constantly repeat this mantra to myself about the 18th mile of my ride. I would send an Easter egg, but I don't think it would travel to Brazil well.

Joey said...

Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or greater Benefit.
Napoleon Hill

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.
--Theodore Roosevelt

kenneth said...

you know, i've heard about people burning their grass to make in greener. but never had the courage to get out and light my lawn on fire....i think i'm afraid that i'll burn my house down!!

Joseph said...

Joey, great quotes! Thanks.

Kenneth, It's time to lay your "fears" down and burn the house... oops, I mean the lawn. :)