Do you remember the first time that you discovered Play-Doh?
I do, and what I remember the most about that first experience was how salty that it tasted when I tried to eat the “Hamburger” that I made, and how it got stuck in these painful clumps in my hair when I tried to give myself green hair like The Incredible Hulk, or how it took my mom forever to get it out of my nasal cavities.
After I figured out what you were NOT supposed to do with it, I discovered all the THINGS YOU COULD DO WITH IT and that is when my little world opened up to something far greater! I discovered that you could take that soft material and shape it into the most fantastic things and that you could make animals, monsters, aliens, buildings and whatever else your imagination could conceive. My kids love playing with this stuff and, unlike me, they seemed to be born with the knowledge that you do not eat it, stick it in your hair or up your nose. They must have gotten that from their mom’s side, and they are lucky for that.
I was reading a passage of scripture in preparation for an upcoming opportunity to teach when I saw something that took me right back to when I was a kid looking at all of those little yellow open plastic cups filled with color and possibility.
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
~ Phillipians 4:4-7
I love this passage because truly we all have problems and just like those little yellow jars, our problems come in every color that you can think of.
The bright colored problems stand out larger than life and the dull color problems almost seem to dare us to reach our hand in the jar and deal with them.
We sometimes find ourselves sitting at the table of life, like a child looking with an overwhelming feeling of despair, and sometimes we don't even know where to start.
I have found myself looking at the jars that God allowed to be set in front of me and even at the jars that contained colors of my own making and just like the kid I was years ago I hesitantly reach out unsure what to do with the contents of those jars when they spill out on my table.
Most of us don’t, so most of us do all the things with our problems that don’t work. We treat those problems like I treated Play-Doh on my first introduction.
WE AVOID THEM.
WE TRY TO DO SOMETHING WITH THOSE PROBLEMS THAT THEY WERE NOT INTENDED TO BE USED FOR.
WE MAKE EXCUSES.
WE TRY TO DIGEST THEM AND "JUST GET TOUGHER" FROM THEM.
WE OFTEN WEAR THE PROBLEMS ALL OVER US AND THEN GET FRUSTRATED WHEN THEY ARE PAINFUL TO DEAL WITH LATER.
Paul had a problem.
He was in prison, and this was not what Paul would prefer. His jars at the table of his life contained the color of abuse. He looked at the color of “Misunderstanding”, “Hurt”, “Rejection”, “Loneliness”, “Despair”, “Shipwreck”, “Fear” and even “Death” and he came to a fantastic conclusion! He saw these little jars as tools to create something truly fantastic. He found that he could shape these problems, hurts and pains into an expression of Love!
In the passage that I read earlier, look at what Paul was saying!
“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!”
Before you take on any problem, stop to realize that it is not little God and BIG PROBLEM but rather it is BIG GOD little problem!
When was the last time that you just focused on how BIG your God truly is?
When you find your perspective of Father and His abilities changes, you will begin to discover that the jar of color in front of you was not meant to be a hurt to you but for you to do something far greater than digest or wear or throw away. It was meant for you to shape something incredible with it!
Paul goes on to say, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. “
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. The worry and the problem now become the very tools necessary for you to make something phenomenal!!!
You and I stop in our tracks as we read Philippians because we see something amazing that has been created out of what we mistook to be difficult circumstances, hurt or pain.
Your praise to God during the circumstance is what shapes your problem into prayer!
Prayer changes EVERYTHING!!!
Prayer shapes a problem into something that will bring attention to just how awesome God is and what He can do through a life filled with hurts and pains!
What has hurt you?
What “Color” have you yelled at God for allowing to be on your table?
What little yellow jar have you avoided at severe costs because you don’t want to mess with it? The jars are yours and you can shove them off the table, but they are not going away! You can find a name to blame them on or find ways to help you forget that they are there, but they will remain where they are until you do something with them.
Think of your heavenly Father and tell Him He knows best. Give Him that. As you begin to praise Him for His strength and His knowledge, like Paul, you will begin to see things taking shape! Father is AWESOME!!!
Let Him show you how to make something truly spectacular out of an ordinary jar of clay!
~Climbing with you,