But it's related. Because when they are stripped of the things I see as necessities in ordinary life, they are also stripped of the distractions I find in everyday life. Then they see Jesus more purely. They love Jesus in ways I can't imagine. Because it's not in spite of, but because of hardships that they know Him more intimately. They're forced to rely on Him. They have such joy because they are clinging to Jesus-and only Him.
We become amazed by the happiness of someone, not because they are rich and happy-that's expected-but because they are poor and happy. Perhaps suffering makes Christ shine brighter to the world because it magnifies the difference between the response of a dying person with joy and a healthy person with joy? Which person would make you stop and examine where their hope in life lies?
I have been so blind. Blind to what really matters in life. Who cares how popular someone is or what talents they have or what they can do? Why did it matter what kind of car someone drives or the clothes they wear? It shouldn't. God is beginning to open my eyes... again. I remember God opening my eyes before, but I think I closed them during the past few months. When I close my eyes, I don't even remember the fact that I ever did see at all! Otherwise, if I remembered, I wouldn't be content to be blind, and I would ask God to open my eyes again which in His forgiving grace He would. But, no, instead I unconsciously shut my eyes and forget about what really matters in life...
In America, it's almost as if I get a diluted Jesus instead of the pure version. Jesus is mixed in my life with so many other things. Activities, possessions, work, education, friends, adventures--they're not terrible things, but they can so easily distract me. And I mean so easily.
"We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But... apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore everything that you enjoy in Christ - as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ - is owing to the death of Christ."
Money isn't evil. It can be a wonderful blessing. However, the love of money leads to all sorts of evil. I'm convinced that this should be our perspective on money:
"Wise people know that all their money belongs to God and should be used to show that God, and not money, is their treasure, their comfort, their joy, and their security…."
When my eyes are finally opened again, my memory awakes. And I remember what I knew all along: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth... But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”