My computer stopped working last week. It is now going again but for a time it joined the bulk of my possessions in the category of ‘broken’ (which pile seems to also include my body!). The fact that much of what I own is old and broken reflects the modest income our family has, the computer breaking drove this home to me because we simply cannot afford to spend money on repairs, let alone a new one. The thought of no computer made me feel like an inferior citizen in a society that assumes ‘everyone’ has a computer and internet access (which in fact is just not true in New Zealand).
So I plunged into feeling despondent that I’m poor, considered selling my soul to get a higher paying job, then because it was a fine day began painting the wall that I had been procrastinating on. As I slopped paint onto roughcast and listened to music loudly (by Third Day, on my iPod – are you getting the irony of this sob-story!), God gave me a resounding kick up the rear-end.
Allowing my thoughts to wander and hearing song lyrics reminding me of the free gift Jesus has given me, I realized that the difficulties (even if relatively minor) of life are not something to avoid. It is when I feel like I cannot cope, am unable to fulfill my responsibilities, feeling left out of the good things in life – this is when it is the Spirit of God who keeps me plodding on, when my own abilities ran out long ago.
It is impossible to experience the strength of God when I feel strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I only experience the consolation of Christ when I am not coping. The riches of knowing Jesus come as I am cast out from the fellowship of the successful in this world. In those times I am the beggar dressed in rags… with pockets full of diamonds! You cannot eat a diamond, they don’t keep you warm, but if you have pockets full of them you are unbelievably rich even while going hungry, cold and rejected.
So what are those diamonds? I will list a few, if you think of others please add a comment.
- The hope of heaven — having the best possible life on earth is not important when I know it is for a limited time and heaven is forever (Revelation 21:2-4).
- The King of Kings has prepared a place for me in His kingdom! (John 14:2-3).
- I cannot be snatched out of the hand of my Lord and Saviour (John 10:27-30).
- All my shame will be taken away (Isaiah 54:4, Romans 10:11).
If a man were to offer money for any of these he would be laughed and scorned off the face of the earth (see Acts 8:20) because the cost to buy a single one is billions of dollars more than anyone could ever pay (i.e., they are beyond price). Yet I have all of this in my possession, right now!