Crowded to Christ

  • Feb. 9, 2016
  • #8812

Trials, heartaches and challenges test our faith, to show it is genuine, and draw us ever closer to Christ.

Crowded to Christ

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a quotation you’ll want to remember.

It was during World War II and Margie Hamilton was still a newlywed when her husband was shipped out. While he was overseas, she learned she was pregnant. What she learned next, however, was devastating – Margie Hamilton’s husband was killed in action. While she was still grieving, her baby was born, but even that celebration was short-lived when doctors told her that her child had serious birth defects. After about 40 operations, poverty followed. Still Margie Hamilton was able to say (now get this), "All this trouble has crowded me to Christ. It's simply mud around the gold."

Wow! You know, I don't know who Margie Hamilton was, but this little story is as precious as gold. And I am so touched by her reflections on all her trials: “All this trouble has crowded me to Christ. It is simply mud around the gold.” It reminds me of First Peter Chapter 1, verses 6-7 where the apostle has a good word for his Christian friends who were undergoing many a great trial. He says to them, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, your faith may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." I don’t know if Margie Hamilton’s bible is still around, but I just bet she had that verse underlined!

It’s easy to run happily and willingly into God's arms when everything seems easy, breezy and bright and beautiful. But do days like that really crowd you to Christ? Do they push you deeper into his heart where you’ve never ventured before? Probably not. On bright, beautiful days when all seems easy, you are, most likely, playing catch-up on all the things you enjoy doing. No, it’s the painful trials that fix your focus on Jesus; it’s the “trouble” sometimes that crowd you to Christ. It's one reason I'm glad for this wheelchair. If I were on my feet, and if I had use of my hands, I know what I would be doing, I'd either be maxing out my credit card at the mall, or I’d be heading for the tennis court, or coffee-klatching with girlfriends at Starbucks, or flicking through daytime soap operas. Not that any of those things are really, really bad; but they are the sorts of things you enjoy doing when you’re not distracted by pain or trials or other disappointments.

But me, I will opt for being crowded to Christ. I’ll go for the mud on my gold, thank you. And I will continue to greatly rejoice in the "all kinds of trials" which accompany my wheelchair – all the headaches, all the hardships that push me flat on my face before the throne of grace where (as it says in Hebrews chapter 4) I find divine help. And sometimes the help God gives is an increased measure of faith; I am able to believe God more, as well as to act on it. This is what makes faith golden!

I may feel weary and tired now, but one day the mud and dirt of my earthly heartaches will be washed away, revealing the gold of refined faith. So let me ask you, what circumstances are crowding you to Christ right now? Can you "rejoice greatly" that these things are shoving you closer to the Savior? I tell you what, you will be able to rejoice greatly when you understand that the testing of your faith is more precious than gold. May we both see our troubles today as merely “mud around the gold.” Thank you, Mrs. Hamilton, for the reminder.


© Joni and Friends

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