How often do we buy into the advertising only to be disappointed when the product actually appears? More often than we think. Buyers remorse is a real thing.
I remember when I first got saved. This was back in 1983. Yes, that long ago!! I was very new to the whole Pentacostal, charismatic church scene. I had been brought up in a church that was pretty dry and thought of Jesus like a fairy tale, kind of like the Easter bunny or Santa Claus. There was no life in the message every Sunday. So when I accepted Jesus as my Lord I was so excited. And being young and so excited to learn everything and anything about this whole faith thing, I guess I just took everything in as gospel, when it really wasn't. I was buying Sea Monkeys. Experience and seeking His word and listening to His Spirit has taught me so many things over the years.
First of all, that being a Christian is not the Sunday picnic that I was promised. I remember being told Sunday after Sunday that as long as I lived for the Lord, everything would work out, everything would be easy now. And when it didn't work out that way, when there was sickness, financial problems, all I could do was blame myself. I must have done something wrong, because hey, I'm living for Jesus so everything is supposed to be easy peasy. Nowhere in the Bible are we given the promise that there are no longer any problems for those who serve the Lord. Duh! How many of His disciples were persecuted, hunted, murdered? How often are trials and temptations mentioned? What is said is that He will never leave us or forsake us. That He will never give us more that we can, with His help bear. He tells us that in our weakness, we are strong in Him. In other words that trouble WILL come, but He is with us through it and He will give us strength and peace and joy to get us through to the other side.
Another box of Sea Monkeys that I bought into was that when I received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, all of the work was done. I am redeemed, renewed. A new creature in Him. Yes, that is true. But I am still a work in progress. I am every day reading His word to learn new truths in how to live a Christ-like life. I am every day seeking His Spirit to teach me, lead me, and yes, bring His conviction when I do wrong. That word seems so harsh. Conviction. We think of prison garb and jail cells. The word just means the act of moving a person by argument or evidence to belief, agreement, consent, or a course of action; the act of convincing. The Holy Spirit is convincing me every day of the right way to live. The way to live that honors God and brings Him glory. The Holy Spirit gives me new insight into God's character. He teaches me the truth to combat the lies of the world. He encourages me when my life seems to have gone awry, bringing scripture to mind to show me that God is still on the throne. The Holy Spirit tells me that what I thought was a box of mini sea royalty is just a bunch of dried up fish bait.
The last box of Sea Monkeys I want to talk about is prayer. I was taught in those early days of faith that God was a big slot machine. Really, He is!! If I put my coin of prayer in the slot of His will, my answer will be popping out like a fountain of coins any minute now. This was a hard lesson to learn. First that God is sovereign. And second, that He knows the beginning from the end. Far better than my puny mind can fathom. He knows what I can bear. He knows what will strengthen me into the person He fashioned me to be. He knows the answer that is best for me. My prayers are not an argument before the court of God to convince Him of what I need, or what others need. My prayers should be causing me to get closer to Him. And my prayers are not one way communications. That old saying, "You have one mouth and two ears, so listen twice as much as you talk" applies here. We should always know that we have the ability to speak to Him and the guarantee that He hears us. But we should also know that He wants us to hear Him too. And that hearing means being quiet in His presence. Reading His word for truth to be made known to us. Receiving the encouragement of other believers. It means acknowledging that the answer might not be what we want, or the timing may not be what we expect. I have had many prayers, some that I am still praying and believing for that have not been answered yet. I have one prayer that I have been praying for for over a year that was literally just answered this week. It is not my place to tell the maker of the universe when or how He should answer me. I do have the right to make my petitions known, as it says in 1 John 5:14, 15. That as we ask according to His will, he hears us. That is another area that we mess up in. Lots of time I ask according to Gail's will. Come on, God...I really want this; I know this is best for me! There are some prayers that I am glad now that the answer was no. He truly has the best in mind for us. Jeremiah 29:11, often quoted, but oh so rarely truly believed, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
So I think I will stay away from the ads in the backs of comic books. That severed finger did not look real at all!! But the whoopie cushion was lots of fun!
I want the truth. Even when it is a hard truth. Because the truth will set me free and will help me to be less gullible next time. Sea Monkeys are great as a novelty, but I want the reality of a life changed, a life lived for my Father, true royalty with a true crown. A big God, not a shrimp.