By Linda Dipman
The newly finished roof, leaks, the dog is sick, and I have a chronic back pain that makes it hard toju sit in one place for very long. My business is completely dead and the bills are mounting on a pile on top of my desk. In total distress I turn on the television in hopes of getting my mind off all my problems, at least for a little while. Turning the station, I am drawn to a program where a couple is buying a vacation home. They're bored with their ocean front home in Florida! So, they're looking for a home between $600,000 to $900,000 in Nevada where they can gamble and go to the extravagant shows on the Las Vegas strip.
I was totally captivated wondering st how fantastic it would be just to have the ability to own a home priced at their vacation house sum. Amazed at their extravagant lifestyle I questioned God as to why they are allowed to have such riches when I can't even afford health care. God don't you care about me? I don't understand why some people can have everything they want and the rest of us struggle day to day!
Psalm 49: 16-20, "Don't be upset when a man becomes rich, when his wealth grows even greater; he cannot take it with him when he dies; his wealth will not go with him to the grave. Even if a man is satisfied with this life and is praised because he is successful, he will join all his ancestors in death, where the darkness lasts forever. A man's greatness cannot keep him from death; he will still die like the animals."
As I continued to watch the television program, the couple chose a brand new $700,000 vacation home over looking a golf course with a beautiful mountain view in the back ground. The wife complained that they were also over looking some new construction. The realtor quickly explained that it would all be completed in a few short months. The rich woman nodded in reply, but you could tell that she wasn't happy about the amount of time. My mind was astonished at her complaint all the time thinking how excellent it would be if I was in a nice new clean development with perfect landscaping, beautiful brick pavement, and nice new roads.
Psalm 49: 10-12, "Anyone can see that even wise men die, as well as foolish and stupid men. They all leave their riches to their descendants. Their graves are their homes forever; there they stay for all time, though they once had lands of their own. A man's greatness cannot keep him from death; he will still die like the animals."
I live in a sixty year old house on a street where people aren't interested in having nice yards. It would be awesome if they just hauled away their junk and occasionally mowed their yards. Every window in my house has a view that overlooks run down homes, old cars and crumbling roads and sidewalks. Just thinking about my location made me even more upset over this couples ability to live such an extravagant lifestyle. If God loves all people the same, then why are they so rich, while most people are so poor?
Psalm 49: 13-15, "See what happens to those who trust in themselves, the fate of those who are satisfied with their wealth-they are doomed to die like sheep, and Death will be their shepherd. The righteous will triumph over them, as their bodies quickly decay in the world of the dead far from their homes. But God will rescue me; he will save me from the power of death."
I turned the television station in disgust and the Evening News was showing pictures of a devastating flood. Thousands of families were displaced from their homes. They were pleading with the authorities to let them just go back to their homes long enough to get the few personal possessions that escaped damage from the flood. The faces and stories told by the people quickly snapped me out of my mood of utter contempt for the rich couple and their newly acquired vacation home. My mind now was focused on their pain wondering what I could do to help them.
Psalm 49: 5-9, "I am not afraid in times of danger when I am surrounded by enemies, by evil men who trust in their riches. And boast of their great wealth. A person can never redeem himself; he cannot pay God the price for his life, because the payment for a human life is too great. What he could pay would never be enough to keep him from the grave, to let him live forever."
My feelings over my lack of things got the best of me when I indulged myself in television programs containing the lives of the rich. Seeing the anguish of people in pain after the devastation of a flood made me focus on what was really important in life. Suddenly a steady stream of revelations once again made me focus on the purpose of our world in the first place. We are not here to live a perfect life with beautiful extravagant mansions. We are not here to indulge in excessive riches and what they can buy.
1 Peter 1: 3-5, "Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of his great mercy he gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for his people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God's power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time."
My heart goes out to all the flood victims. Most of all my love and compassion for those who have lost everything reveals the change that has happened in my own life as I strive to imitate Christ. I don't care about the riches of this world for I am building a mansion in the perfection of heaven.
1 Peter 1: 6& 7, "Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed."
The victims of the flood are blessed because their faith in God is being tested by the refining fire of the flood. Questions like these become answered: "If I lost everything would I still trust Jesus? Yes! If I had to start all over again would I be a story to others about what I have overcome?" A shout out loud, "Yes! Most of all would I praise God in the assembly of people, even when it seemed that He had abandoned me in the flood?" A resounding, "Yes, Yes!"
This world is more than what it seems. It is not about personal wealth or if you are famous. It is about growing, learning and most of all achieving the greatest goal of them all, 'Your Life Purpose!' Many people are so changed by what they suffer that they completely change their lives. They become fireman, policeman, medical personnel, social workers, and missionaries, whose main goal in life is to help those who are in need. They volunteer in hospitals, rest homes, and school systems where children need a role model in their lives. They are people who show the world that every bad thing that happens in their lives, just makes them stronger.
1 Peter 1: 8&9, " You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in him."
The News, told many stories of people who were thankful because God had saved their family from the flood. Stories of victory among the chaos. Stories of strength as many declared that they would rebuild again. Stories of people who didn't become victims of the flood, but examples to the world of what you can overcome when God is the center of your life.
The tests I have endured during my life have changed me. Making me care about people and not about the riches of this world that will soon pass away. Believing in God and trusting Him with my problems, fixed my leaky roof, took care of my dog and miraculously healed my back.
Linda C Dipman author of THE GAME OF LIFE IT'S ALMOST OVER http://outskirtspress.com/gameoflife presents AND HIS LOVE SHONE DOWN my true life story! It describes all the persecutions I endured. It will put you on the edge of your seat as you read each vivid detail. You will feel terror and experience love like nothing you have ever read before. http://lovinghandsministry.com