A few days ago I was having a salad for lunch and my youngest said she also wanted a salad. After asking a few times to make sure she really meant she wanted a salad and not her usual (yogurt, goldfish crackers, maybe a banana), she told me "yes, yes, yes" and insisted "I really like salad." Really?! Well, ok!
I told her how proud I was of her for choosing something healthy. I told her I was really glad she liked salad today all of a sudden. I told her salad would help her body to be strong. And I fixed her a small bowl.
With great excitement we sat down together, thanked God for our meal, she took her first bite...and promptly announced "I don't think I like salad."
If I remember correctly, I think she had a yogurt intead.
Besides being slightly annoying and quite humorous, this little scenario got me thinking: How often do we ask God for something, insist that we really want it, and then, when its placed in front of us, we say, "Actually, I don't think I want that after all"?
I ask God to make me holy, make me more like Him, change me into His image, use me in whatever way He wants, but when the opportunitites come to shape me and mold me and change me, do I say, "I don't like this. I don't want this after all"?
Like wanting to be healthy without having to eat the salad, how often do we want holiness without the refining fire?
Life just doesn't work that way. We have to allow the difficulties, disappointments, frustrations, and deep pain to mold us into Christ's image. That's what God allows them for. We can embrace these undesired experiences and be changed by them, or we can fight them, complain about them and fall into despair.
"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:9)
Has God placed something before us that we'd really like to push back and say "No thank you. I don't really care for that. Could I have something else?" These are the moments that we need to pray for God's guidance, strength and wisdom, and then embrace the opportunity to grow.
"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." (Job 23:10)