My man’s family has been friends with a husband and wife team who grow pumpkins. They enter their pumpkins in the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Circleville, Ohio every year. In 2007 they broke the national record with a pumpkin named Cream Puff. Cream Puff weighed in at a whopping 1,524.5 pounds! Can you imagine? My father-in-law was telling us this story when he asked if we wanted to know the secret. Of course we said yes!
Rhino poop. Are you kidding me? Nope. Rhino poop is the secret.
How in the world does this have anything to do with your spiritual growth? I’m glad you asked! We all have to have a little manure in our lives in order to grow. You know what I mean, the trials, tribulations and sufferings we go through. That’s the kind of poop I’m talking about. But there is purpose:
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)
What are you to do in your sufferings? Why?
What are the things that suffering produces in you?
Think about it: If we never suffered, would there be a need for us to hope in anything bigger than ourselves? Where would God be in your life if you never suffered…after all, would you really need Him?
In the Bible we find real people who wrestled, suffered and struggled. We find real people who learned and grew and matured.
You can read in Genesis 32:22-32 the account of Jacob wrestling God. Here are some things we can take away from that encounter:
~You need to grab a hold of God while you are wrestling (v26).
~You may find you have a “limp” as a reminder of your wrestling match (v25).
~Your struggling (wrestling) allows you to see God face to face, up close and personal (you can’t wrestle someone from a distance!) (v30)!
You can read in Mark 5:21-34 about the woman who was subject to bleeding for 12 years!
~Sometimes you have to be willing to fight the crowd to get to the help you need (v24).
~You have a Resource when all earthly resources have been exhausted (v26).
~Your sufferings can cause you to look to something bigger than yourself and your situations (v27).
Now read James 1:2-4 and answer the questions that follow:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
What kinds of trials will we face?
What does the testing of our faith develop?
Why must perseverance finish its work?
If it weren’t for trials and sufferings we would never mature or be complete!
We shouldn’t be surprised when troubles come our way. Jesus told us it would happen in John 16:33 when He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Let the following verses sooth you in your suffering:
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Psalm9:9)
“This poor man called and the Lord heart him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Does it help you to know there is purpose behind the trials, sufferings and manure of life? I sure hope so.
How will you look at the trials of life differently with what you learned today?
You will never become a spiritual “Cream Puff,” a giant in your faith, if you don’t have a little rhino poop tossed on you from time to time! So when you go through your next trial, just think to yourself, “God wants me to be a Cream Puff!”
Love you something fierce!