Because I've been on antibiotics on and off for the past three months, I've had to start taking a supplement alongside of my medication.
When the bottle of bio-k was first handed to me I thought it was some kind of a sick joke. The bottle reads (and I kid you not): "this product contains over 50 billion live good bacteria."
And with the one sentence the skeptic in me emerged. First of all, when has eating bacteria sounded like a good idea? Second of all, how do they determine what's good bacteria and what's bad bacteria? And lastly (and most importantly), how can this possibly taste good?
No one could answer my first two questions and I answered my third one after I tasted the stuff- let me tell you, bacteria tastes horrible (big surprise I know)!
But now I'm the first to admit that it works. With all of the medication that's been put through my system to fight the infections I should have run into some other problems by now, and I guess thanks to the bio-k (and prayer), I haven't.
As I was eating the ghastly stuff last night I couldn't help but see a spiritual parallel in all of this.
You see there have been many times in my life when God has placed me in a situation or has allowed something to happen, and to be honest it looks pretty bad. Yet through it all, God promises that it will be for my own good. And just like the idea of consuming over 50 billion live bacteria doesn't sound right, the skeptic in me often doesn't believe that the situation could possibly be good for me.
But time and time again I've been proved wrong. It has been through the trials and the unknown and the tests that my faith has grown and I've been brought spiritually to the place that I'm in today.
This is exactly what James was talking about when he wrote:
"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." (James 1:2-4)
So in the same way that I consume live bacteria in order to build my immune system, we as Christians often have to walk through dark or troublesome times to build our character and grow more Christ-like.
And after the testing is over, the blessings flow:
"God blesses people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)
Simple stuff, but sometimes I know I need a reminder just the same.
So today I'll willingly swallow another jar of bio-k because I know it's good for me. In the same way, I'll willingly go through this time of testing, knowing that the results will be good and the rewards to follow will far outweigh any temporary discomfort that I experience here and now.