In the mid nineties, we moved from our home of eighteen years to a new state. My life changed dramatically as I no longer participated in an extremely active ministry. Actually, I was involved in no ministry at all; just shelf sitting. Have you ever been there; sitting on a shelf for no good reason or so you thought? Well, into the midst of my pity party walked a friend with a keen observation.
“Maybe you’re not sitting on a shelf,” she smiled. “Maybe you are on the rung of a ladder.”
Isn’t that just like God? I was feeling real good about poor little me when he sent someone to say, hold on; you are not seeing clearly, you are not just sitting collecting dust and being good for nothing. You are in a preparation place for the next step in life— laying the groundwork to move forward.
Ladder huh – rung huh— waiting, learning, growing. Those all sound like such enlightening words. But boy can they be painful. I must admit that her observation made me feel better, once the shock of her interruption of my pity party wore off. Moving up the ladder of life sure sounded better to me than being a shelf sitter. So, I began to think about the uses of a ladder. Seated on the rung, I began to ponder why?
Webster says a ladder is a framework connected by a series of rungs or crosspieces on which a person steps in climbing up or down…a rising series of steps, stages, or levels.
We know they are used when working on or repairing things that are out of our reach. My mind whirled with questions. “Could it be that God is preparing me for some work now out of reach?” Ladders are also used to reach new heights. I wondered if I might be headed somewhere higher than I had been before. Ladders are used to save people and property. I thought about how exciting it might be to actually be instrumental in saving a life—physically or spiritually or both. I questioned which rung I occupied—the bottom rung of something very big, or the top rung of something very small? I had no clue.
At any rate, rung sitting, or ladder climbing as I now prefer to call it, will certainly test what you are made of. I thought about what kind of material I wanted to be made of.
Wood may be sturdy and can be cut to size. However, wood rots when left untreated and out in the weather too long. Maybe I should be like plastic—hard, modern. No, no—plastic gets poured into a mold and won’t bend. It also gets brittle in real cold weather and breaks with age. After much thought, I decided on aluminum. It is strong and sturdy yet it can bend without snapping under pressure.
Aluminum for the Lord—tough, but bendable, pliable, so He can mold me and make me what I need to be.
That revelation ended my pity party as I decided that living the abundant life while waiting on the Lord is possible only if I am willing to bend; be less of me and more like Him. And who knows; by understanding that, I may have just moved up one rung on the ladder!
Whatever He has in store for me, I am grateful for all He has already given, I praise Him because He is worthy of praise, and I love Him for He first loved me. Now that is abundant living!
So when you, like me, find that the preponderance of evidence in your life leads you to the conclusion that God has set you on a shelf, don’t you believe it! It is just another rung on the ladder of life. Praise Him!