2 03 2018


Suffering is often a sign of God’s favor. Now don’t expect to hear that preached from very many pulpits. It is not the feel good message that a “selfie” generation is clamoring for. If we would listen to ourselves pray, we are always asking for a “safe” journey and that everyone would be healthy, wealthy and comfortable. Yet these may be the very reasons why we are not growing deeper in our walk with the Lord. Don’t resist the work of God by asking for an easy life! If you want God’s best work, you must be willing to give up control!

 If we believe that God is good and adhering to this fact is paramount to having any real chance of keeping ones faith while still living in the midst of an unjust world, then we need to look for the Lord’s presence everywhere we are present. He is here in all that is happening around us. There will be times that we must endure things that hurt even as we hunt spiritual growth. There will be times that we must persevere through experiences that sting more than soothe. There will be times we must not give up when we feel like we are going to die if we have to endure one more draining moment like the last one. Life isn’t about looking for the easiest road. It is about taking the right road that makes us mature and strong even though it includes much blood, sweat and tears.

 Every coach I ever had used to shout this mantra, “No pain, no gain.” What he or she meant was that if we wanted to have the stamina we needed to be able to still have something left in the tank when the game was on the line, we needed to submit to the training whether we wanted it or not. Running laps in the hot sun when we would rather be sitting in the shade sipping iced tea is essential to our bodies being stretched to endure. In much the same way, the only way our souls can ever hope to not only survive but actually thrive is to give the Holy Spirit complete authority in calling the shots in our journey. Hardships are woven into the melodies that will eventually become part of our soundtrack. If passion is birthed from our pain then we can’t run from what may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

 Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that cancer, divorce, depression, discouragement, sickness, loneliness and poverty are good. We are foolish to even pretend. What I am saying is that with the Lord, we have his promise that he will make all things work together for good for those that love him. God creates majesty from the misery. The Lord redeems treasure from the trash heap. Jesus raises beauty from the ashes. Real Christians have bad days. Real believers still battle anxiety and depression. We are ushered into the dark night to be born again into a brand new morning. God wants to free us from depending on the props that we choose to turn to rather than run to him.

 There comes a time when God must get us to live beyond our circumstances so that we may go deeper into our intimacy and closeness with him. He removes the previous consolation from the soul in order to teach it virtue and prevent it from developing vice.    

If God doesn’t allow the hard time to occur, we make the grim mistake of processing life backwards. We will measure God by ourselves and not ourselves by God. And if we attempt to live our lives by measuring God by ourselves, we become too weak to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

 Maybe today is the day that you and I finally come clean. If we ever want to press on in our faith, we must be willing to let it all go. If you were to write an honest and uncensored prayer to God today, what would it look like? It’s time to allow yourself the freedom to make an outward expression of all that is going on inside your heart. If you are flying high, let your praises ring to the sky. But if you are broken and distraught, no more hiding in the dark. Contrary to what we have been taught, not every praise song is a happy little ditty!

We must be willing to let our deep seated feelings fly into the chest of God. There might be a hidden symphony waiting to be written. Some of the most powerful pieces of music were born out of times of great heartbreak. I believe God is creating something beautiful in our brokenness if we allow him to do so. And what you may hate today may turn out to be the biggest blessing tomorrow. Let’s give God room and see what he can do in me and you.



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